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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Now that we are past the holidays, the year pulls to a close. For many this is a time for deep reflection. For some it is a time to tally their set-backs and successes. Most of us however take some time to look ahead to the New Year with a bit of optimism as we ponder what we would like to accomplish.

How resolute are you to accomplish your goals during the coming year. For most people, their New Years Resolutions are something that they would "like" or "hope" that they can accomplish. However, without the commitment and desire behind it, the goal becomes more of a "want" than a resolution. To be resolute about something is to be determined and unwavering. Imagine if our American Founding Fathers and Mothers had committed themselves to be merely "hopeful" for their Independence. Surely the task of starting a new, noble nation would have failed without a strong resolve. The nation had to be resolute in their desires and efforts in order to accomplish their revolution.

Isn't the American Revolution an overly dramatic example. After all, aren't we just trying to get a new job, lose weight, quit smoking, etc. Surely those goals aren't as significant as starting a new nation, are they? YES! They are every bit as significant! Indeed, most New Years Resolutions require even more resolve in order to accomplish, because they deal with addiction of some sort (whether cigarettes, food, relationships, acceptance....). Indeed every significant New Years Resolution requires a Revolution of the Mind and your thinking in order to accomplish. Otherwise, it wouldn't require a significant statement as a New Years Resolution. The Revolution of the Mind that is required is often deeper than people look. We must ask ourselves:

"What does ..... do for me? Why do I ....?"

Then we must find healthy, constructive activities which will provide whatever it was that leads us to engage in the unwanted behavior. Throughout nearly a decade of coaching, I have noticed that every unwanted behavior has multiple positive behaviors that will fill the same emotional/physical need. We just need to dig and find them. At first glance, it may appear that the positive behavior is harder, or takes more time than the unwanted behavior; however with a little practice, we often find that the positive behavior is actually more efficient than the unwanted behavior. For example, I was coaching someone who wanted to quit smoking. She admitted that while most of the time she smoked cigarettes out of habit, a bit of digging uncovered that she was smoking to relieve stress or anxiety. It was a source of relaxation. I was certain that even though she had to learn how to relax and reduce stress through mental/physical exercises, she would eventually find it more efficient than smoking. Ahhh, but smoking a cigarette only takes a few minutes, and the relief begins after a very short amount of time. However, if we add in the amount of time that it takes to buy the cigarettes, earn the money that is required to purchase the cigarettes, find a place where you can smoke, and the time you will spend sick or in the hospital as a result of smoking, then it really isn't that quick of a fix. I have found that after a very brief amount of time, relaxation techniques can allow people to cope with stressful situations within seconds - without any unhealthy side-effects. We should all be careful when we calculate how effective a tool is, that we include ALL of the costs of using that tool. We often discount the costs and inflate the benefits of addictive substances.

So while you are pondering what New Years Resolutions you want to accomplish, please feel inspired to GO BIG! Revolutionize your thinking by determining what will need to change in your thinking and your habits, and find healthy ways to enact that change. For more techniques on changing your thoughts and habits, sift through my blog for previous articles. And feel free to check out my website for products that are designed to revolutionize your thinking and habits: www.Mindful-Measures.com.

Have a Happy New Years!