Once again that time is approaching when we are called upon to make promises to ourselves. Supposedly in our best interest, we are bombarded with encouragements from the press and each other to list our resolutions for the New Year. If we don’t come up with at least three or four, we may feel guilty and that we are shortchanging ourselves. So we try really hard to make a list. Often the first resolution is to loose all the Holiday weight that we have gained. Then there may be resolutions that involve being nicer to our spouses, really walking the dog and not pushing him out into the backyard, playing with our children and not just yelling, calling our parents at least once a week, volunteering somewhere this year, etc. The list can look and feel so good! Up it may go on the frig door.
But alas, New Year’s Day usually comes and goes and much to our sorrow, so does the list. It was easy to diet the first day after eating two dozen Christmas cookies yesterday, but much harder three days later, particularly if you know there are a few more Christmas cookies still in that canister in the living room.
Oh, it is not so easy to walk the dog at 7:00 am. Why did I ever commit to that? Here Chum, out you go. Bark when you are ready to come in.
And how can I not yell at the kids. They are misbehaving something awful.
And my husband came home in a bad mood. I don’t feel like being nice to him. Why isn’t he trying harder?
And the failed list goes on and on, until usually it ends when we rip it off of the frig door.
Ah, relief at last. Now I will just see what is left in that cookie canister!
Have a given a fairly realistic picture of resolutions? I think so, from what my clients, friends and I have shared over the years. But don’t despair. Here are some suggestions that just might work:
1. Think in terms of only three resolutions at most for this year. Make one easy to accomplish, one medium hard and one that might be hard.
2. Throw out the hard one and save it for next year.
3. Now take the easy resolution. Plan how you will accomplish it. For example, if it is to finally paint your kitchen and clean the cabinets, break that task down into a number of segments. Make a list. For example, January: pick the paint color and brand you want. February: paint or better yet, get your husband or someone you can make a special dinner for, to paint. March: Clean and sort one third of the cabinets. April: Do another third. May: You guessed it, do the last cabinets. June: Enjoy your accomplishments. Maybe have a celebration of some sort. It could be a tea party for you and your girlfriends in your kitchen or it could be a special night on the town. You decide.
4. Now consider your medium hard resolution. Do you still want to do it? If yes, again break it down in small segments that make sense to you. If not,…I’ll leave that to you. Maybe it will be your first resolution next year.
I hope you get my point that being kind and gentle to ourselves and helping ourselves to pick realistic resolutions that we can really tackle and get done is much better for our self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment than picking resolutions that we are simply not ready to handle.