Ah, it's a new year.
A lot of people are starting fresh and setting goals for creating a new body, a new relationship, or a whole new lifestyle.
Sadly, we all know the gyms and yoga studios and diet group meetings will only be packed for the month of January before trickling back to the regular core group of members. It happens every year.
Resolutions are often good intentions backed up with maybe a month or two of genuine effort. Why bother? Sometimes it can be the incentive that motivates someone into action and change. More likely, people will change when they are ready. The question to ask yourself is, are you ready? Maybe you made a resolution to be a better spouse. That's nice, but are you really ready to improve your relationship? Do you know how hard you have to work? Are you prepared to learn how to become a better communicator?
Can you shift away from competitiveness with your spouse into cooperation? How willing are you to become less selfish? How about resolutions to spend more quality time with your friends and family? Sweet, but intending to spend more time with them doesn't do any good if you never get around to it.
Are you ready to listen more, care more, give unconditionally more, compliment genuinely more, and criticize less? Hosting more dinners and attending more parties is not all there is to spending more quality time with your loved ones. Do you know what they need and want, or do you assume it's the same as what you need and want?
Did anybody resolve to be a better parent? Being a parent is a very difficult career and the job description is constantly changing. Are you willing to give yourself a break since the hours are grueling, it's messy, there is no compensation other than a job well done, you can't quit, there are no promotions, and all of the training is on the job without a supervisor? Can you accept that you are human and sometimes you can't do it perfectly and that's okay? Let's say you are ready for the resolutions you made, do you have time in your hectic schedule to do all the things that you have established as important? If you were taught that busy is the opposite of lazy and having a lot to do is a sign of success, can you shift your values so that being busy watching a butterfly land on a blade of grass, listening to your child tell a story, or doing nothing other than listening to your inner voice is as important as signing 20 contracts at work? Whether you like to make resolutions as a way to light a fire under the seat of your pants or you think resolutions are empty promises that lead to ultimate failure and self loathing, the bottom line is that we could all stand to grow and improve over the upcoming year.
The key is to know exactly what we want to change, what we need in order to make that change, and to give ourselves the time and space necessary to do it.
We will all have different goals and different things will motivate us to work toward those goals. Are you ready and prepared to take action?
Happy New Year. Danielle Aldcorn BSW, MA is a registered clinical counsellor at the Satori Integrative Health Centre.