Itís a New Year and a fresh beginning. We clink our glasses in a toast, play sentimental music and kiss our loved ones holding on to them tightly. Consequently, we make all kinds of outrageous promises in the heat of the moment. We resolve to lose an exorbitant amount of weight, exercise daily like body builders, climb the highest rung on the ladder at work, do volunteer work, get more involved in our childrenís schools and act more considerately to the in-laws. Yeah right! Itís not that we donít have noble intentions, but there is a huge interim from January to January. At the first sign of stress, we relapse into our old habits. But why canít we implement? Is it because at the root of our resolution lies the need to impress others?
Most of us need accountability and cheer leaders. This year, how about becoming accountable to yourself? Instead of making resolutions on the spur of the moment, make a commitment to just one goal of self-improvement, for you and no one else. This means you are not losing weight because the media makes you feel fat or that you are doing volunteer work to make an impact on others with your kindness and generosity. This yearís goal needs to emanate from your heart. Interesting, when your goal is internally driven, the accompanying perk is better health! Thatís a two for one sale.
For example, many women are self-silencers. They do not speak up during a marital spat. Instead, at the first sign of conflict they tiptoe around the house trying to keep the peace, suppressing their feelings and thoughts. Now if a self-silencer commits to expressing her true feelings, she will improve her health at the same time. The famous ten-year Framingham research study on cardiovascular health discovered this striking fact: Women who kept their feelings to themselves during conflicts with their spouse had a four times greater risk of dying than the rest of the population. At the very least they were more likely to suffer from depression and irritable bowel syndrome as summarized in the Harvard Womenís Health Watch
(Jan., 2008). So, if you are a self-silencer, by making a commitment to expressing your truth in the coming year, you will create better health for both your mind and body as a bonus benefit.
Most of us are second-raters as we rate ourselves the way we think others perceive us. The reason we shy away from conflict is our fear of displeasing others. However, we need to understand that arguing clears the air and leads to change. When you become a first-rate version of yourself, you do things out of personal choice and thatís why your motivation is high because you are pleasing and accommodating yourself, not doing what you think you should be doing or fulfilling other peopleís expectations. Being first rate is like doing your job when no one is looking and without any applause because you have pride in your own work.
To make sure that you stay committed to your new goal take a weekly inventory to evaluate what is working for you and what isnít. This way you are avoiding the huge gap of January to January. Sunday night is a great time for evaluation as you are planning out your new week which gives you a weekly opportunity for a fresh start. Happy New Week!
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com