Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year⎯New YOU, Here’s How...

The beginning of the year marks a renewal of sorts. Forget the resolutions, I know you’re saying, “What, the year just started!” How many people do you know benefit in the long run from making and following through with a new year resolution? I would venture to guess⎯not very many! Usually resolutions are big life gotta do’s, as in quit smoking, lose weight, start working out, pay off debt and save money, to name just a few. I think of resolutions as those things we know we should or shouldn’t be doing but can’t seem to follow through with. Many people set themselves up for failure by trying to take giant leaps rather than small baby steps. Big life gotta do’s are significant lifestyle changes. For example, it’s not just dropping a few pounds, but keeping it off. It's a matter of changing your thinking, and the follow through is maintaining that thinking. Making resolutions might sound like a good thing to do⎯but if all they do is set you up for failure, what is the point. I know⎯you’ve got to start somewhere…

Baby Step #1: Focus on One Word
Might I make a simple suggestion here⎯instead of a resolution, why not pick a word for the year. This word would really be a sort of theme for the year ahead. Eight years ago, my health began to deteriorate rapidly and was leading me down a dark and narrow path. After two years of being lost, I came up with the idea of selecting a word. This word became my focus for an entire year. The first word I chose was ME!

Baby Step #2: Fine-tune Selfishness
One might think of considering one’s own needs first as being a bit selfish. No matter where you look to define selfish you basically come up with the same negative definition⎯a person who lacks consideration for others. If that is how you want to define it, fine with me. But if I don’t consider ME, who will? If it takes me being selfish to help me be healthy and happy then so be it. I know if I am healthy and happy, I will be a better person for anyone else who comes into my life.

Baby Step #3: Question Yourself
During the year of ME, I began to take care of myself. I would remind myself of this by asking,
“Is this in my best interest?”
If it wasn’t, I didn’t do it; if it was, I did it. Another question that would surface  regularly would be,
“Is this something I really have to do, or want to do?”
By questioning myself, I learned to focus more on me and to take better care of my needs first and foremost. That forced focus brought me the gift of awareness and gratitude which lead to peace of mind and happiness. I learned more about myself that year than I had in nearly a lifetime. As a matter of fact, I continued with this theme the following year⎯I was on a roll and I knew I had more to learn.

Baby Step #4: Simplify the Process
You define yourself in different ways throughout your life, but you can simplify the whole process by learning to tune in to YOU. By considering your needs and whether or not something is or isn’t good for you, YOU can take control of YOUR life. YOU can quit smoking, lose weight, start working out, pay off your debt, save more money or whatever is best for YOU. It may not always be smooth sailing, but your word will serve as your reminder. Selecting your word for the year will help you make baby steps and aid in your follow through, thus helping you maintain whatever changes you are making in your life.

Baby Step #5: Carry the Word Forward
I’ve been selecting a word for my annual theme ever since the two years of ME. I have been amazed at how much the word affects me and carries on into my life even after I have picked a new word the following year. My word for this year is momentum. I want to be the driving force in what goes on in my life. Look out…

Let this year be your new year⎯your new YOU. How are you going to define your year? Will it be in a word? What will your word be for this year? Feel free to comment and share your word. I would love to hear from you!
© Copyright Michelle Clark 2011