New Year, new ways. Or so the media and diet industry would like us to believe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against setting resolutions for the new year, but what I am against is the cycle of setting resolutions that end in self-flagellation for buying a gym membership you never use, gaining weight on a new diet, or snapping at a co-worker when you have tried oh-so-hard to stay positive all day long.
There's good research out there on how to set resolutions that work for you instead of against you. Laura Kastner, Ph.D., one of my favorite parenting experts, has written a great article on six evidence-based steps that make resolutions stick. This article in particular is for parents, but it works for anyone.
I definitely think Dr. Kastner is on to something, and I think the six steps she lists will work well for you.
However, my experience as a life coach has led me to see that lasting positive change can also come from a deeper place that begins with a tiny shift in perception.
I am going to use myself as an example so I don't get into trouble with any of my clients.When I took the Via Survey on Character, I discovered that an attitude of gratitude was one of my relative weaknesses. I'd done gratitude lists before, but basically found them to be yet another thing to do. I found myself deeply resenting my so-called gratitude lists. They were more like resentment lists of forced positivity. I gave up on gratitude.
Fast forward a number of months and I was listening to Brene Brown talk about the relationship between vulnerability and gratitude, and it hit me: when I feel intensely vulnerable, a hit of gratitude will bring me right back to the center of myself where I feel whole and fully alive. So, I tried it. The next time I played with my son and found myself worrying about if he will get sick and die before me, I reminded myself that a dose of gratitude was in order. My vulnerability was an indicator that I was 100% in love with and grateful for my son's presence in my life. There's nothing I can do to prevent him from dying before me, but I can know how grateful I am to have him here.
So what does this tiny (well, not so tiny, really) shift in my perception have to do with creating change? I can think of a few positive consequences off the top of my head. 1. I can make this shift without props, money, a gym membership, or clearing time in my calendar. 2. The well-being I feel when I am flushed with gratitude inspires me to make healthier eating choices, go for a walk instead of bingeing on Nurse Jackie (guilty!), or to remember to tell my husband and son just how much I love them.
What tiny shift is waiting for you? I'd love to help you find it. Drop me a line.