by Graham Barrone
I can’t remember the last time I made a New Years resolution. However, I do remember a few I made in the past. Learn to play the piano, make more money, write a book, make more money, go to Italy, go to the gym, eat more healthily, make more money….
They were not extraordinary resolutions and pretty similar to other peoples and probably as with many others my resolve was just not resolute enough. So my thoughts on New Years resolutions have become a little jaded over the years to a point where I figured, what’s the point, why would I want to add another uncompleted dream to the bag when it’s fit to burst as it is.
Now as a life coach, it is a large part of my job to help others to achieve their dreams and to focus them upon realistic ways in which they can do this. I have studied psychology, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Having read every book on the shelf, worked many workshops, sat through many lectures, rubbed shoulders with the learned and followed in the footsteps of the righteous I have at last gleaned a thing or two about how to make positive transformations in your life which stick.
At this time of year I read a handful of articles on New Year Resolutions and the best way to make them. After reading a handful I am resolute in not reading any more. I remember an article that has stuck in my head for years, the writer was imploring the reader to ‘this year think big, think beyond your wildest dreams and dare to reach for what you have never conceived possible before.’ The wonderfully upbeat, you can do anything attitude was truly inspiring. Reading it left me feeling g’eed up, ready to roll, thinking yes why not me I can do anything. But to be honest my instincts where telling me something else, they were screaming at me ‘its all fine and dandy about becoming a millionaire in one year but there’s just one thing – Your knackered, you don’t know how and you will lose interest!’. I was a man in conflict. I am or was the traditional think big New Year resolutions type of person who rode the wave of my life changing annual declaration just until the steam left the engine probably about two weeks into January. Each year I realised that I had many years of unresolved resolutions behind me and I was developing an unwanted pattern of failure.
So what to do? I didn’t know, so I did nothing. For some years I didn’t make any new years resolutions and to be honest I felt better for it. No hasty dreamy promise looming over my head and no deepening the rut of failure into which I would inevitable tread.
So what’s the big deal? We all say stuff we don’t really mean and we all do and say things with honest well meaning intentions that don’t quite pan out. Perhaps I gave myself an unnecessarily hard time about my doomed resolutions. If anything I learnt something very important to me and that was to be realistic. It’s not a glitzy kind of word that invokes men and woman to climb mountains or lose 5 stone, but it is a word that is honest and so in touch with whoever reads it that it cannot be ignored. Realism is you, you as you are, right now.
My clients are more often than not at a place of acceptance, at a place of realism already where they understand that here I am and yet something is not quite right and perhaps still not right after trying for so long. It’s this acceptance of our present situation that is often left out or over looked in the articles that you may read this time of year. A good read will often lift a person from their world for a moment, to engage with a world of opportunity and excitement where they can align themselves with possibilities that electrify every cell in every part of their being. Then the circumstances of our lives and the beliefs that we hold are all too apparent when the shine wears off. We all face challenges in our lives and we need to address the ones which perhaps need facing first before we launch into a career on Broadway or doing business on Wall Street. Please don’t think for a minute that all these things are beyond your reach as I believe that they are most definitely not. What you choose is yours and your belief is everything. However given that so many people suffer from a mental illness of some kind at some point during their lives (one in four) I feel a little understanding of what will make a positive impact on our lives to a more beneficial extent is more important to us right now.
So what to advise? Well, being a devotee to the maxim ‘keep it simple, stupid’ I recommend this: Changing a few things in a few areas in a small way.
My aim here is to help you to improve your overall well being and health in a meaningful realistic way. Your life can be broken into key areas that are important to your development as a healthy human being, for example physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health. There are few more groups that I explore more thoroughly with my life coach clients but for the sake of keeping it simple lets focus on a few groups which will directly impact upon your immediate well being; Physical Health, Emotional health and mental health. We will tackle other groups another time perhaps but for now let’s keep it simple.
Physical Health: Food, exercise and sleep
1. Food: Increase healthy options reduce unhealthy ones, for example eat more fruit and veg, and buy less crisps and biscuits.
2. Exercise: Increase your physical activity, walk or cycle to work, take the stairs, do house work with vigour.
3. Sleep: Sleep is sacred, keep the temple clean and tidy. If there is one room in the house that stays tidy make it the bedroom.
Emotional Health: Love and relationships
- Love: Become aware of what and who you love and bring more of it into your life. For example I love how a good chat with an open minded person makes me feel so I make time to visit people. Or I love how it feels when my daughter sits in my lap and watches the telly so I watch her when she does and my heart grows.
- Relationships: Increase the peace, extend the hand of friendship and talk to people be interested in them. If you like to help others, volunteer. What ever interests you or makes you feel good share it with others.
Mental Health: Interest and activity
- Interest: Increase your interest in the world around you. Become aware of what you like to watch, read or talk about and make time to think about them.
- Activity: Do something that brings your interest/s into your life in a more purposeful way. For example join a course or a group. Link up with other people who share the same interests.
Ok so its not rocket science its just about creating awareness of a few key areas in your life and bringing a little positive change to them. When you actively get involved in your life even in such small ways the good feelings ripple through all aspects of your life and you will feel energised, empowered and entertained.
Begin 2010 with realism, be aware of your circumstances of your beliefs, choose the small amendments you are going to make in your life and act upon them. Next year we will perhaps discuss how to achieve your dreams this year allow yourself to dream. I wish you and all of those in your life best wishes for the New Year and every success you desire.
Graham Barrone D.Hyp. DCBT. Hypno-psychotherapist and Life Coach www.lifeskillsswindon.com