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Happy Healthy New Year to You!

New Year's Eve, 2012
We are coming to the end of another year, and for some of us, the new year 2013 is already upon us. And the tradition in many places is to create New Year's Resolutions to resolve issues that we haven't completed or achieved in previous years. This practice, to me at least, forces me to look at myself through a negative lens of what I didn't do, or what I failed to achieve, or how I fell short of my goals, and that begins a whole stream of negative thoughts at both the conscious and subconscious levels. And because they are negatives, it is very easy to make resolutions and then fail because we are set up for failure by the attitude and mind set with which we approach them. Doesn't sound like something that I want to do this year....again!

So perhaps before you go through the process of deciding on your resolutions, you could do a couple of things first.
  1. Take yourself on a journey through the past year and write down all of the things that you achieved, changed or resolved. Take note of times that you challenged yourself to achieve and did, no matter how small the achievement. You will find that there are many instance of growth during the year if you look for them. And while growth may be painful, think about the path that you chose and where you made progress. After all, we seek progress, not perfection.
  2. Note the challenges you gave yourself and note how well you achieved them or moved along your path with them. Did you ask for help? Did you seek options that would help you learn more about you along the way? Did you reach out to those who support you to include them in both your joys and your stress? And at the end of the year, where are you with these challenges and what more do you want to do?
  3. Note those things that you bug yourself with every year yet they always seem to be on the resolution list. Stopping smoking? Losing weight? Dealing with relationships? Loving yourself more? Note what you did in the last year about these and what worked and what didn't. This can help you decide how you might want to approach them in the upcoming year if they are still a priority. For example: I may always stress that I want to lose weight. In looking at the last year, when this was one of my resolutions, I can see what I did to achieve this. Did I do anything to improve my nutrition and intake of food? Did I include exercise in my lifestyle in a meaningful way? Did I reach out to others and perhaps get a gym buddy so that going to the gym wasn't such a chore but became something that I looked forward to? Did I learn something about my eating behavior so that I could identify when I was eating because my body was hungry or because I was emotionally empty? Did I truly decide that this resolution was a priority that would take precedence over other priorities and devote time, energy and resources to achieving it successfully? Once you take stock, you will see how you can refine your action plan in the upcoming year and focus on a strategy that has high potential for success.
  4. And once you have gone through all of these steps, ask yourself what you do to reward yourself and how that impacts your priorities. If your standard means of reward is to have a glass of wine, or eat ice cream, perhaps you might make the resolution to develop rewards for yourself that are not food-related. This has lots of latitude, is positive in nature, and has as a result you rewarding you.
  5. And if you decide to develop resolutions for yourself, try to state them in a positive manner rather than a negative one. Language plays a major role in how we feel about actions and ourselves, so if we are always looking at taking things or pleasures away from ourselves, how can these be stated in a positive manner? For example, I choose to be smokefree this year because I want to use the money that I have been spending on cigarettes to do something fun and exciting. I am choosing to be a nonsmoker because I want to set a good example for my kids or grandkids, or I love to run and my shortness of breath from smoking is keeping me from performing at the level that I want to achieve again.
I hope that you have a happy and healthy new year, and that above all you value yourself and choose to treat yourself in a healthy loving way. You deserve joy and happiness in your life, and you have the tools to achieve it, no matter what the circumstances of your life as it is now. You are not alone, and there is always help available if you reach out and ask for it.
Happy New Year!

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