As we enter the New Year, it’s customary for us to resolve to lose weight, get fit, save money, be better organized. How successful are we at these endeavors? You know the answer! All that falling off the wagon is creating great business for chiropractors.
So instead of making the same old resolutions, how about creating a different kind of agenda for 2018? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to learn? What do you want to improve? Whatever it is, let me suggest some down-to-earth basics that will help you make your dreams come true:
- An idea takes you only so far. Indeed, ideas are easy. So, fall in love with your ideas but then, get down to business. First, focus on one or two of your notions. (A million ideas are way too many.) Then figure out how you intend to accomplish your goal. Without that, nothing will happen! You need to create a plan, find the time and energy to implement your plan and then get going.
- Not being the best is fine. You don’t have to win the gold medal to be proud of your achievements. You don’t have to be on the best-seller list to write an amazing book. You don’t have to aim for a perfect body if you wish to lose weight. Just do what you can where you are with what you have! And when times get tough, which they probably will, hang in there. Tough times don’t hang around forever, but tough people do.
- Surround yourself with supportive people. Supportive people have an uncanny ability to make you feel important. That doesn’t mean that they’ll always agree with you but they’ll always be respectful, honest, and genuine with their criticism. Notice how others speak to you. Is their conversation loaded with critiques (you should have) or with curiosity (what are you into?) or with praise (yippee!)? Do they offer assistance with what you want to achieve or hinder and hamper your progress? Simply put, a supportive person energizes you; a non-supportive person drains your energy. Some people will seem supportive at the beginning but after the first hurrah, they’ll undercut your efforts. Sometimes openly, “This idea of yours, it’s just foolish.” Sometimes covertly, “Why are you spending so much time with that?” So, you’ve got to decide. Whose voice will you listen to? I urge you to listen to the voices that spur you on, build your backbone and puff up your enthusiasm.
- Squash your own excuses. It’s not only other people who may undermine your confidence; it can be your very own self. There may be times when you experience a tidal wave of worries. Or, a pessimistic voice that insists “you can’t!” You may have moments in which you want to scratch the whole idea of going forward. It’s too hard. It takes too much time. I can’t do it. Don’t settle for less than what you’re capable of. Get back on track by ending your thoughts on a positive note. An example: Change your “I can’t…” statement to “Right now, I can’t … but one thing I can do is …”. Perhaps negative voices do have an important message you need to heed. Once you hear their message and consider its validity, however, it’s time to give them the boot. An occasional visit is not the problem; taking up residency in your brain is!
- Appreciate that we all have a newbie stage. No one begins as an accomplished pro. You are a work in progress. Yes, some seem to be born with a talent for… (fill in the blank). But the rest of us have to work hard to accomplish what we want to do. So what? Who said life is supposed to be easy? Though you may still have a lot to learn, take pride in who you are right now. And, lighten up, give yourself permission to make mistakes and to be imperfect.
- Don’t curb your enthusiasm. We each have our own way of doing things. Sure yours will differ from others. That’s okay. Let them criticize. But you, you must celebrate your individuality. As well as your imperfections! Celebrate my imperfections??? What????If those imperfections are not weighing you down, let them be. Nobody’s perfect. However if they’re preventing you from living the life you want to live, turn your attention toward what you need to learn and what you need to do to make a better life for yourself.
- Put a lid on your id… so that you can finish what you start. It’s so easy to get distracted in the digital age; so many things to seduce you from what you need to focus on. If your mind responds to every whim, you’re going to be mightily frustrated. Hence, tell yourself “no” to diversions so that you can reap a sensational “yes” to achievements!
- Appreciate the art of being present. We talk to people, even our closest friends and family but we’re not fully there. Why? We’re checking our phones. We go outside, rush into our cars, never noticing the sensational sunrise, awe-inspiring trees or cumulus clouds. Why? We’re in a rush to be someplace else. But consider all the mysteries, joys and rewards you’re missing when you’re not fully present at the moment.
- Seek out opportunities to learn, to travel, to experience something new. Initially, you may feel fearful, uneasy, even stupid. Continue to have learning experiences, however, and they will instill in you a sense of achievement, strength, even triumph. People who are bored with life don’t do this. Then they complain that life is tedious and tiresome. You make the choice.
- Sure, we want others to understand our perspective. But doesn’t that suggest that we have an obligation to understand theirs as well? Of course, we can just think of “them” as narrow-minded, dense, senseless, ridiculous, chauvinistic, outdated, and 101 words that describe those we disagree with. But rather than name-call, we can ask questions of others that might provide us with a deeper understanding of how they think, what they fear, what they want. And when you do, you will become a more informed, insightful person.
So, I hope the year 2018 is a wonderful one for you. I hope you’ll feel empowered to accomplish your objectives. I hope you open yourself up to a greater variety of experiences. And, I hope you delight in a more optimistic, confident, joyful way of living.
“The great thing I this world is not so much where we are,
but in what direction we are moving.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes