Goals > Resolutions.
“New Year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.” ― Alex Morritt
With the New year approaching, many of you [myself included] might be starting to think of the self-improvement we'd like to do for 2018. Some people will get completely invested in making all these resolutions...stop! Start by doing this one word change which could make all the difference in your upcoming year...Change Resolutions into Goals.
I highly recommend making goals instead of resolutions for 2018. A goal is defined as an object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. Whereas, a resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not to do something. Resolutions are either met or not. The reality of it is, resolutions don't fit our lifestyles because we are all humans and it takes us awhile to get things right. We mess up, we make mistakes, we fail and that's okay! This is why I want you to choose the word goal instead of resolution, a goal is more attainable. A goal is something that is desired and we can look towards to push us, but we should be forgiving with ourselves if we don't reach it. To be real with you, even some goals are often not reached [sometimes they are], but when you look in the direction of a goal and work towards it, often other things happen that you wouldn't have expected, good things!
I'm more of a realist when it comes to therapy and taking the steps to work on ourselves. I want to be honest with you just as I am honest with myself. So in being honest, when it comes to self-improvement, like anything, there's limits of what you can improve. This in turn can hurt you because you can start to doubt yourself and be unhappy of what you don't have or cannot accomplish.
Remember that negative self-talk will get you nowhere. Instead of punishing yourself if you try and fail...give yourself the credit that you ARE TRYING. Life is a bunch of trips and falls...what matters is that you keep getting back up. Some days it's harder than others, but the real difference in people are the ones that keep trying.
So many clients I have and people I have met discuss the 'New Year' as this reset button. Truthfully, we shouldn't reset anything, we have wisdom from the past and we should bring that into our future. Walk into the new year with an honest, open mind with no expectations. Expectations ruin most things. Life will never be the dream world we find ourselves imaging. When you have no expectations, it provides you with no letdowns and no hurt feelings. It also allows for things to just happen as they should and gives you the opportunity to just live in the present moment.
Every year people strive for these 'resolutions'...the same ones, different ones, new ones...just stop doing that to yourself. Regardless of what you think will happen, life will get in the way, mess it all up and this is where some methods of coping become handy. Be more realistic with your goals. Stop envisioning this life you're going to live just because it's going to say 2018. Enjoy the present moments and just be happy to be here to start another year.
As a Therapist I suggest you strive for goals that better you...
Be more positive! Positivity is such a simple term, however, for most, it's a hard term to live by. Being more positive isn't about walking around with a smile and going "everything's A-O-K!", not in the slightest. It's someone who takes the negative things that happen and faces it saying, “This is what happened, I have to deal with it, I will get through it." Positivity is taking the negative feelings you have towards people as well as situations and transforming those feelings into motivational tools to work on yourself as well as to try and understand the different perspectives of people.
I've stated in previous posts that negativity is inevitable. There is no positive without the negative. We know the Yin-Yang symbol right? In this life there is absolutely no getting rid of negativity, but we have the choice to not let it control us.
Do not let negativity control you. If you develop a positive stance, the negative feelings will find it harder to set in. You have the ability to stay facing your goals instead of turning away becoming stuck in self-pity and self-absorbed into all the negativity [which is easy!]
We all have that inner 'mean-self'. This part of ourselves promotes greediness, jealousy, anger and frustration. Sometimes it can be triggered by a remark, something we see on social media, a dumb driver, a family member or person in front of us at the grocery store. However, learn what makes that 'mean-self' react. This could help you better understand yourself and how to figure out ways to counteract that side of your personailty. Regardless, there is no way to be 'perfect' so it's okay to get frustrated, just develop healthy coping skills to help get through it.
Instead of goals like weight-loss, better job status, more money, a happier relationship with someone...start within yourself. When we start within ourselves with changes, we start to see other aspects of our life becoming better because we start to handle them differently.
I'll give you some personal information [I like to enter this when I feel it could help.] This end of the year has really thrown my little family into a mess. My husband's father's dog who's had some issues in the past with anxiety and abusive trauma from a previous owner, snapped and bite him on the nose. Like the Rick you will come to know, he never likes to worry me. He called me and stated there was just a minor problem. Well that minor problem landed him in the hospital getting stitched up by a Plastic Surgeon who informed us of the absence of the very tip of his nose. The treatment would probably be needing a skin graft [which is taking skin behind the ear and replacing the missing skin on his nose, yikes!] Two days after this incident we stumbled upon scrapes on the front left bumper of our new car, which must have happened while we were out last minute Christmas shopping [that car costs us a pretty penny.]
Sometimes bad stuff happens; it doesn't matter if you're a good person or not, things happen, but how you handle it is what makes all the difference.
The Plastic Surgeon met with us and stated that we'll have to wait another week to figure out the next step and then we will handle it. Whether it be a skin graft, letting it heal on it's own...we will do the best we can.
As for the car, I went to the Police Station of the incident and filled out a police report and if we never find the person who did it, I did the best I could do. Rick's nose might never be the same, but we will do our best [that's all we can ever do, our best!] Regardless, it's all superficial stuff most of the time, we're lucky to have each other, our health, and love [trust me, my situations could be worse, so I'm just happy to able to laugh about them and move on.]
These are few examples of how I handle things in my life, with the help of my incredibly positive, annoying husband [haha.] A goal for you could be taking the situations you encounter and doing what you can to change them for the better. At the end of the day, some situations that happen will forever change things...you have no control about that. What you do have control of is how you live with it.
I love my husband no matter. We now have numerous jokes about his nose that we share with each other because we face life with humor, something I highly suggest you start bringing into your every day life. Laughter is life's natural medicine after all [the cliché stuff you know I hate to love because it's true!]
A goal to focus on is to develop a support system. I'm lucky to have an incredible support system; my husband, my family and my friends [and my fur babies!] This life can get tough, really tough and it's always nice to have that certain someone or something that provides you with that little extra comfort. Know you're not alone and the hardships we face fall differently, but they fall on everyone.
Like always, don't take the New Year to an extreme. Sometimes people are addicted to bettering themselves. Hey! I get it, I try and better myself every day, but regardless if I succeed or not I am comfortable in who I am. Stop focusing on all things you want to better and FIRST be okay if those things don't get better. If you don't keep up with that gym membership, your therapy, your meditation, your healthy eating...well you tried and you can try again. No matter what self-help books you read, therapists you try, workout classes you go to...sometimes you have to be okay in the person you are because the key to your search for happiness could be that you're not happy with who you really are deep down inside. Realize that you even attempting to better yourself means you're already EVEN BETTER than you were [if you're reading this blog you're trying to be better so give yourself some credit!]
The New Year can bring a satisfaction of the year coming to a close. Some people are unhappy because it could have been a great year and they’re not ready for change. Some people are highly awaiting 2018s arrival because of the substandard year they've had. Whatever side of the spectrum you're on, be willing to stop focusing on life getting better or worse...stay in the present. Stop wishing for life to get easier...it's not. I'm sorry to tell you that, but it's the truth and if you can understand that you're already in a more desirable position. Be okay with the dysfunction of life.
"We are not given a good life or a bad life. We are given life, and it's up to you to make it good or bad."- Ward Foley.
When coming into the New Year, develop goals, not resolutions. Stop looking at this life in black and white and appreciate it for all the color it has. Days are good, days are bad...things can feel hopeless, but I assure you that they can get better, but you have to try. Life is less about finding answers and just about living.
These are some goals I hope you consider when thinking of the New Year...it's terrific that you develop goals, but the real test is to actually pursue them and do the work.