Tuesday, January 02, 2007

If not now, when?

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'If not now, when?' asks the Talmud. A timely question given the arrival of the New Year.

A New Year, a new beginning, so goes common thinking. A time of change. People are talking about their resolutions for this year, goals they're setting....from small challenges such as taking the time to acknowledge the things others do for us to the bigger life changes...perhaps making that big career switch or addressing that relationship or family issue.

I always start off the New Year with 'The List'. If someone devised a Top 10 of the most frequently made resolutions, most of them would appear on my list.... the 'lose a little weight', 'eat healthier', 'get fitter'. My intentions are always good, it's in the implementation that I seem to falter. So, another New Year and surprise, surprise, an almost identical list of resolutions.

Still. Very eco-friendly. A recyclable list, right?

This year I've been questioning how I am going to break this impasse? Is it a merely a question of willpower? I acknowledge I am lacking in that department ("pass me that last Lindor ball, will you?").

Why couldn't Santa have brought me a box of Willpower for Christmas?

New Year is often a time for reflection. I know I've been thinking about areas of my life that, to me, are less than ideal and thinking of ways I can improve things. Hence the list, once again fuelled by the heady emotion of the excitement of change, initial commitment and obviously misplaced confidence (given past history). Right now, I'm motivated, I'm on an emotional high. Will that hold out? That kind of energy can be hard to sustain, emotions flucuate, with a subsequent loss of commitment and increasing excuses not to exercise, eat right...well, you catch my drift.

Most people agree that while willpower is a great start, it will only take you so far. What is needed is good, solid planning. If you're serious about achieving your resolutions, try the following strategies:

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Choose a realistic goal. No matter how many pictures of Heidi Klum I stick to the fridge, it just isn't going to happen.

Quantify your goal. Make it measurable and observable. Ah? So that's why Bad Santa bought me that nagging pedometer?

Small steps. Breaking down the goal into a number of smaller, easily achievable units can increase a sense of mastery. In my case, let's make that baby steps.

Set a timeline. Essential for a born procrastinator like me. 'Sometime' just doesn't cut it.

Monitor progress. Hmm. For some people, a buddy system works well. Personally, I find self-monitoring safer for the psychological wellbeing of my nearest and dearest. The 'Have you gained a kilo' is not generally spoken by a wise man in this household!

Of course, you can always make your resolutions public on your blog. How's that for accountability?

Note, the absence of my list. ;)



7 comments:

Moof said...

Healthpsych, I didn't make a list this year ... or last year. I must admit that neither were rated among my "best years," however I didn't try stop trying to improve myself over either of the years.

I think that my New Year's list is more of a "just keep on plugging" sort of thing, and so far ... it's gotten me from year to year.

Not very dramatic, eh? ;o)

I wish for you a very peaceful, safe and healthy New Year! Thank you for all that you do!

Sisiphus said...

New Year Resolutions? I resolve not to recycle last year if that is possible!

Regards,
sisiphus

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, nice catch on my post. That actually might be what they're referring to, but i'm going to treat it like it's not :-/

Thanks!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Excellent advice for setting and monitoring realistic goals. Got a good giggle as I read too.

:)
Deb

Alison said...

Hey HP, you sound a lot like me, I'm a terrible procrastinator. Though I've noticed the absence of alternatives makes for an easier accomplishment.

For example, if I don't make a real go of working privately this year, we will not eat. Those fitness goals are still hard for me to come to terms with, before I had kids, I was Miss Skinny, but now I'm kind of Ms Porkyish. (Remembering too, that my first child was born 11 years ago, you can see what I mean about procrastination).

Oh and there's others... But I do really want to do it in 2007. Thanks for the advice.

Hope your year is a wonderful one.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you.
Have just linked your Slip Slop Slap post to one of my blogs on Sun Safety.

healthpsych said...

Hi Moof,
Good to see you! I think your approach is probably the best in the long run, given my track record with resolutions!

Hi Sisiphus,
Most definitely with you on that one. 2006 was not the best year.
Here's to a better 2007!

Hi Deborah,
Well, it's one thing having the tips and actually acting on them ;)


Hi Dr. Wannabe,
Thought it worth mentioning....good luck with everything!

Hi Alison,
A lot of similarities! Definitely a procrastinator, particular when there are a lot of options. Hope the private practice thing comes together...might be picking your brains on that one if things work out as I expect! And the weight/exercise thing....yep....I'm following the Spanish plan...manana, manana, manana.