So the first weekend of the New Year is already upon us, and it will be now that our New Year’s resolutions will truly be put to the test. It is one thing to make it through the working week, but quite another to successfully navigate Saturday and Sunday.
Before you lurch towards failure, it is worth considering your resolutions within a wider context. We, as humans, are very good at bundling the source of our problems into one generic scapegoat; too much alcohol, not enough exercise, poor diet etc. In truth, New Year’s resolutions require a comprehensive plan, as opposed to quick fixes, and this needs to encompass physical, mental, spiritual and economic health.
Although this subject is wide open and each individual will have their own unique recipe, below we will try to suggest three key ways in which you can truly balance your resolutions within a successful strategy. Not only will this offer you a more genuine assessment of your short-comings, but too, it offers a healthier approach towards solving them.
The Three Key Approaches
Balance is a word that is often thrown around development circles, and although it is often an intangible goal, it too can present an extremely rational methodology. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, the balance that I speak of, in short, is optimism.
We all know the role that positivity plays in achieving targets, but it starts long before the ‘doing’ phase. When you are considering changes you want to make to your life, it is crucial to not be exclusively negative. You need to highlight the things that you are happy with, which you want to maintain, and then consider other areas where you hope to strive for improvement.
The archetypal approach of cutting something out or taking something on completely, is not a healthy approach. Not only does it focus on only one specific aspect of personal development, but too, it draws your attention away from the things you were already doing well.
Rather than making blasé statements and heading towards inconsequential targets to prove to yourself and others that ‘you can do it’, sit down and construct a balanced approach to positive progression. Write down what you are happy with and what you want to change, and pave your way to a healthier place. Doing something for the wrong reasons is often more detrimental than it is positive.
This word; balance, can also be integrated into other parts of your New Year’s strategy, but rather than discussing it into submission, simply remember the word and repeat it whenever you find yourself taking things to extremes.
Acceptance is a hugely important part of change; without it you risk adopting unrealistic expectations and using unhealthy approaches. Don’t get me wrong, acceptance shouldn’t be used as an excuse whenever your resolve is tested, but rather it should form a part of the planning process.
Acceptance, without a book of rules to refer to, can be difficult. You are constantly battling with what is belief and what is weakness. Is it okay to have the occasional cigarette, the odd beer, a nice healthy bicker? This conundrum is one of the most complex facing humanity, and has been since the beginning of time. Loosely, and a risk of turning many of you a way, one of the keys is spirituality.
When I mention spirituality, I am not referring to religion, neither am I referring to alternative beliefs. Rather, I am referring to consciousness and attention. This can come in a number of forms, but one of the best is meditation.
Meditation is not necessarily sitting cross legged whilst chanting ‘om’, but rather is about giving your mind the chance to breathe and to be calm. This can help a huge amount in the decision-making process and, too, enable you to better understand what is healthy for you and what is not. ‘For you’ being the operative words, as each of us is unique to each other.
The New Year is all about cleansing; removing excess baggage. Again this is a general term, but it can also form a tangible part of your approach. Cleansing, fundamentally, is the process of getting rid of old negative aspects, and beginning, renewed, from a fresh base. It takes on a similar tactic to the ‘balance’ approach; highlight the positives you want to focus on and allow them to remove the negatives.
To offer a bit more substance to this rhetoric, you can begin by writing a list of all of the annoying tasks you have sitting uncomfortably at the back of your mind. Like most chores in life, the virtual scale of these obstacles is greatly enhanced before you begin to chop it down. Simply make plans to get though it and get started.
Cleansing in the physical sense can also be associated with the home. Yes, by now the Christmas decorations may have come down, but have they been stuffed in a box at the back of a dark cavern once more? Really giving your house a full New Year’s clean and getting rid of unwanted items can make your home feel positive once more. In short, what you are doing to your house is reflective of what you, too, are doing to yourself.
In addition to the cleansing of the house, getting rid of unwanted junk can also offer benefit to your bank balance. There are the traditional car boots sales, but also, in today’s world there are numerous other ways of making money. Old gold jewellery, coins and even dental fillings can be exchanged for cash, home made crafts, on Etsy, and anything else on eBay. With all of the hype surrounding the cost of gold currently, this option can certainly offer a substantial boost to your bank balance.
Acceptance comes largely when you can rid your mind of adopted, learned reactions, reasons and excuses and look at a situation with fresh eyes and a calm mind.
I have deliberately avoided discussing specifics too much, as each situation is completely unique, and at risk of sounding clichéd, it is only you who can determine the correct path. By adopting the above three approaches (not rules), as the foundation of your approach, you can help to ensure that positive progression is a part of your life in 2013.
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Michael is a full time day and part time writer. If you have any questions, comments or tips to share, please feel free to leave them below.