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6 Thoughts On Keeping Those 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year where we head down that same ole path of “New Year New Me”.

Come February, we both know it will be back to “I really need to work out” but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have seen articles about how to write resolutions and how to follow them. I have seen articles on how to let go of the need to make resolutions and instead do what feels right for you. These are all great and you should get excited about making some life changes in the New Year provided you are ready and not just trying to follow the crowd.

Maybe the New Year is a good time to work towards a new you but if you are not ready to commit to the process of making changes then the timing may not be good. Timing is a big factor in change but the biggest factor to making any change is making sure you are on board. If you have not sincerely bought into making any changes (be it New Years’ or any other time of year), the changes you are contemplating won’t ever be anything but a nice thought. Harsh, I know, but hang with me here.

So, how do you know if you are ready to make changes for the New Year?

Ask yourself the 6 following questions…

1. Are you being honest with yourself?

Have you chosen resolutions that you can realistically accomplish? Are you asking a lot or a little? Are you giving yourself the amount of time you need to be focused or lazy? Or are you jumping on the “New Year” bandwagon because that is what everyone else seems to be doing?

2. Have you done any research?

Just as technology changes and improves so does information – from weight loss to nutrition to psychology to fashion! Know what you are getting yourself into and do your research to learn about the changes you are taking on. Don’t “learn” from others as they may understand information differently than you.

3. Who will be impacted by your changes?

This is important. Your changes don’t just make a difference in your life but in the lives of those around you particularly those in your immediate inner circle – you know, those people that are allowed within 18 inches of your personal space. Your changes, be they physical or at a deeper level, have the ability to affect more than just you. If your changes are going to impose a great deal of change upon others you’ll need their buy-in as well. Your loved ones may not be looking to make changes for themselves though they should be willing to support you. Additionally, the sacrifices they may need to make for your changes should be reasonable.

4. What kind of support system do you have in place?

Your support system should be hand-picked friends or family who are aware of your goals AND your timeline. They should also know what is okay and not okay to say to you in order to help you be successful. Verbalize the words you need to hear from them and how they can approach you. Develop code words or some sort of system for when you need that extra kick in the rear to maintain your focus. 

5. What are you willing to sacrifice?

Depending on what you are looking to change you might have to be willing to sacrifice certain things or people in your life. This is a HUGE thing because this can turn emotionally unpleasant very quickly and make it hard to follow through on your resolutions. Making changes, taking on serious resolutions or accomplishing goals does not come without its losses along the way. This goes back to being honest with yourself and this may be when you learn more about you than at any other point in your journey. If you are not willing to give up this, that or, the other thing then you are not going to succeed. 

6. Can your income support the changes you want to make?

This seems silly to ask BUT depending on what your resolution is you may need to think about budgetary restraints and plan accordingly. Maybe your budget won’t be affected but you need to know this right off the bat. Don’t expect to dress like a Kardashian on a Ramen Noodles income or to acquire the body of a full-time athlete with only 30 minutes a day to workout.

Asking yourself these questions will help you determine how successful you will be at keeping your New Year’s resolutions. They may even help you define your goals further which can only increase your potential for success. As you venture down your New-Year-New-Me journey or any journey, remember to have compassion for yourself. Not only are you your biggest supporter but you can wind up as your own worst enemy. In order to avoid that, you will need to know how to forgive yourself for your failures and be willing to focus on your goal.

You can do it!

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Trust

Yeah, well, Rose, I mean, you shouldn’t trust anyone completely.” – Dorothy Zbornak, Golden Girls

Trust seems like a simple concept: you either trust or you don’t. Right?

Recently, my son asked me if I trusted him.  We were in my car and he was at the wheel.  Perplexed, I asked him why he would me such a thing.  He said he just wanted to know.  So, I stopped and thought for a minute.  I looked at my son as he was driving my car.  After a few moments, I gave him an answer.  I told him that I trusted him in different ways.  I told him that I didn’t trust him to drive my car by himself, as he only had a learner’s permit and was still new to driving.  I told him that I trusted him to watch his younger sister overnight, if the need came up.  I told him I trusted him to manage his own homework and I trusted him with my finances.  I told him I didn’t trust him to perform surgery as he has a weak stomach.

He took a moment before telling me how much sense that made. 

Trust, like a diamond, has many sides that are not equal nor identical; this is what makes trust unique for each person. We may trust a colleague to review our work but not to have drinks with.  We may trust our significant other to be a financial partner but not load the dishes into the dishwasher.  We may trust ourselves to pick out a great pair of shoes but not with the box of sweets in the pantry.

The idea that trust can be so complex and multi-faceted is what makes it so difficult.  This can be why so many try to minimize trust to “do” or “don’t” categories.  Attempting to track all the layers of trust can make one crazy with anxiety.

Is it important to understand those layers?  After all, isn’t it just easier to put people into the “trust” or “don’t trust” box?  When we are talking about trust, aren’t we all talking about the important things?

It is easier to put people into the two types of trust boxes.  And some of us may only be referring to the important things when it comes to trust. The problem is that not all of us embrace the important things the same way. We often misunderstand communication or motives based on how those two polarizing boxes of trust are defined.

Bottom line, trust can be a scary and uncomfortable thing. The first person we need to be able to trust is ourselves. If we don’t trust ourselves, we will look to others to help with making decisions.  A lack of trust in ourselves can also lead to repetitive unhealthy behavior (we can talk about that more later).

So begs the question? Should you not trust anyone completely as the quote stays above?  Well, that is really up to you.  Do you honesty trust anyone completely?  Can you look at the layers of a relationship in your life and say with 100 percent confidence that you trust at least one person completely. 

You’ll need to define what trust means to you and how it interfaces with your emotions to answer that.

But, you can do it.

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

The Review of an Independent Woman

The independent woman is an interesting phenomenon. 

The complexity of her confidence and emotional stamina is highly attractive.  Some want to be her despite their fears. Some want to learn from her while others want to limit her.

The independent woman has failed to let her experiences define her.  She can speak to her past without the tears because she has faced her feelings.  She recognizes her flaws. 

She doesn’t subscribe to social constructs nor does she fit into any box. 

She is her own person with her own thoughts.  She is unique. She is confident and respects herself.  She is driven by the love she has for herself.  She is unapologetically herself.

  She knows her ‘why’. 

She seems to be a pro at being independent, but she was not always this way.  While she embraces her flaws and mistakes there are plenty out there who would be all too happy to share her bad decisions with anyone who will listen, and she won’t stop them.

She is the kind of woman that doesn’t seem to “need” anyone.  She seems to be able to not only manage her own problems but that of others.  She is heavily relied upon by those around her.

She motivates others with her perseverance. 

She inspires others with her words.  She attracts many on various levels, but she honors personal boundaries in order to preserve relationships. 

It is not the independent type doesn’t need others – we all need others in one fashion or another.  But the independent type knows how to make space for others, so they feel wanted.  They understand the value of relationships and the boundaries the bind them. 

The independent woman doesn’t lack need.

She has needs.  This is not to say that she is impersonating her independence.  But the independent woman know how to find the grove or momentum to pursue her goals.  She has found the light to shine on her path even when the direction is not clear.  And when the light is not so bright, she will feel her way through.  She has learned enough about herself to know when she needs to rely on herself and when she should rely on others.

The independent woman has a sense of self and has assigned it a specific value.

We all have this sense of self but to love and nurture it is a specific discipline.  Most will abuse, neglect, or ignore themselves in order to fit into a box created by others.  The independent woman doesn’t have a box and without the box there are no instructions. This can make troubleshooting with her more difficult when times get tough but she just becomes that much more intriguing. 

So, what do you do with the independent woman? 

How do you help her when you can see she is struggling even if she is not voicing her struggles? Ask her. Ask her the questions you think you know the answer to.  While you might know her independence you can still learn her needs.  There is a difference.

Social-Eyes

Truths: How can we build an understanding of exchanging truths

It is a tough time.  No single person has all the understanding for everyone.  This is why forgiveness is important.  Doesn’t mean anyone should forget, we’ll never learn that way. 

I’m not talking about forgiving crimes, necessarily.  I am talking about forgiving when others don’t understand.  There is surely a lot we don’t understand about one another and truly, that is okay.  There are so many who want to be empathetic and sympathetic and compassionate and caring.  Those are the ones to focus on and build relationships with.  

It is said, and I often preach it, toxic relationships should be let go of; dismissed.  They bring no joy to life but do tend to steal life.  They cause incredible stress, anxiety, and depression. These are the people to remove from your life.  These are the relationships to avoid. 

Understanding what others have been through when you don’t witness it is really difficult. Ultimately, personal experience is a truth, though it may not be your truth it makes it no less real for others.  The understanding may not come now but that doesn’t mean acceptance is out of reach.  It doesn’t mean support is withheld.  We can have our truths. We can share our truths. We can build an understanding from exchanging truths.

You can also decline a truth but we see what that has yielded

Social-Eyes

Health and healing

Nick and I take a deeper look at how Covid-19 has changed our world and what it has given to us all.

Nick

One thing the Covid19 pandemic has taught or reminded us is the profound relationship between physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and relational wellbeing. People across the world have barricaded themselves in (or, at times, been instructed to self-isolate – or else) to avoid the physical threat of a potentially deadly virus. The media hype that has accompanied the crisis has created an ever-more terrifying drama in which existential anxiety has turned to outright panic. ‘How can we find God in this?’, ‘Will our economies collapse?’, ‘What about my job?’, ‘Are we all going to die?’

The effects have been worst for the poorest people and communities in the world. The lockdown may have created a risk of real starvation that outweighs the risk of infection. For such people, life means hanging on by a thread. Reaching out to God is a daily, essential, way of solace, sense-making and survival. It puts our worries about empty supermarket shelves into humbling and challenging perspective. The recovery post-virus will take time, care and support. Many have faced their darkest fears and find themselves weakened, damaged and hurting. Healing at all levels will be needed soon.

Tara

Sadly, for some, the isolation posed by Covid-19 has further-darkened domestic prisons. Since the order to self-isolate, we hear of an increased number of cases of suicides, domestic violence and child abuse. Experts say the cause is a lack of access to social provision and support systems. Even access to the help of loved ones was reduced by efforts to ‘flatten the curve’. Others experienced little change to their daily activities, other than rolling out-of-bed to walk a few feet to their home office. Some didn’t have to roll out of bed at all, if they were on furlough. Amazing how an event can impact on billions in such a way that its identity can be recognized everywhere by a single name.

As the push to re-open the global economy begins, we must know that our personal experience with this pandemic is distinctive in its physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relational impacts – yet it’s collective ashes we all must rise from. How we heal from the viral setback will depend on our own identity and locus of power. For some, healing cannot be done alone. We must be willing to help each other heal by extending a hand to those in need.  We must continue to connect in ways that may feel far-fetched, or old-fashioned.  If Covid-19 has given anything positive, it is a new appreciation of how we need one-another to withstand such forces and thrive, despite the pain.

Nick Wright is a psychological coach, trainer and organisation development (OD) consultant, based in the UK (www.nick-wright.com). Tara Parker is a change agent, organization development (OD) consultant and soft skills coach, based in the USA (www.elegantdiscourse.net).