Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Bye 2013 and Hello 2014

New, Year, Gold, Reflection, CelebrateAs we wrap up the past 12 months there are so many topics that could be addressed on New Year's Eve.   Such topic could range from the most beautiful images of 2013; top political stories of 2013; most talked about non-traditional teen love stories of 2013; to the Bat Kid (how can you not get teary eyed over that one?) of 2013. 

I wanted to choose a few topics that might warrant discussion at year end.
For starters, there should be positive talks about setting short term and/or long term goals.  This first topic of goal setting is primarily designed to help construct a thinking pathway to reaching possible positive future outcomes.  Dreaming, or setting ambitious plans, might fall into this category but we are thinking of more structured reachable goals that provide you with quick validation.  Dreaming is really for another discussion. This dreaming ideology might be the visionary coal miner not wanting his children to work in the coal mines so that his children can have a better life.  Or the passionate Crystal Lee Sutton or Cesar Chavez advocating for better working conditions for fellow workers.  Setting goals in the formally mention context is more individual and tangible.  This is where the traditional New Year’s Resolution is so promising.  If used correctly it is a manageable life intervention to straighten out what might need tweaking the following year.  We often get into trouble when we set New Year’s resolution goals that are too ambitious

Failed resolution lists places us into a cycle of feeling letdown and we have a negative, or resistance, to accomplishing goals because we perceive that we will not succeed.  
When making resolutions:  
1. Be specific in setting goals to ensure completion.  Make it a goal, make it fun and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fully accomplishment it.  If you don’t complete it just readjust.  Praise yourself if you come close to your goal.  For example: "I want to go back to school."  Too vague.  "I want to go to school so I will do all the research and understand the cost and financial aid options by march 31; I will pick a degree or subject or major and understand the requirements needed to start school; I will pick two schools and one alternate to attend. The more specific you are the better chances you have to success.
2.  Keep the goal simple and in perspective.  Maybe a Junior college is easier and doable?  Maybe you have children and a job so part-time might be more conducive to your lifestyle. 
3. Make sure you are telling others.  Accountability goes along way!  It puts you in an obligatory role.  But also, if you get stuck or if you are having difficulty a support system and others can be strong allies in helping you reach your goals.  If you are planning to be healthier and if you blog about it or put it on your social media page you might find others that are open to your ideas.  Maybe you stumble upon hiking through your discussions with your support system which you normally would never have thought to do.  While your friends are bringing over the cheese cake and beer against your wishes your new hiking friends can share their similar frustrations and give tips on how to help with such struggles that you are facing.
4. treat your self emotionally or with tangible gifts for your success!  Make it fun!  If you are broke go to the 99 Cents store and buy gold stickers and buy a calendar.  Every day you feel successful about this goal put a gold star on the calendar.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money or time to praise yourself for reaching your goals.

If you are like most of us and have too much on your plate and unable to get everything done you might need to do the priority list.  So often we might feel frustrated if we don’t write down the “new year’s resolution list by January 1st only leading to not doing the list at all.  Why not set the deadline for January 31 to complete the resolution list?  This gives you time to think about the list and make any necessary adjustments. 

If you decide to do your New Years Resolution list think about your personal 10 best moments of 2013.  This is an interpersonal and intrapersonal reflection.   This is the opportunity to build on what was successful from the year.  Some moments we only have once and are not to be duplicated; however, we can learn from our mistakes, as well as, from our fortunes.    
The second key topic of this discussion is building your career or your future.  Know the difference between a job and a careerChris Rock actually describes your job vs. your career perfectly using humour.  Use your time to build for your future and your happiness.  A job ain’t gonna do it.  A career can.  Use this year to strengthen your career, whether through networking, longer hours for a payoff, or more diversification in job skillsets.  If you have a job this is the year to make it your transition into a career.  Figure it out! 
The third topic is understanding your spirituality and your moral and political platform.  This is not churchianity or religion.  This is having an understanding of what you believe in and connecting closer to your Self as you fit with mankind.  Are you at the stage in your life's growth where you know your belief about something but you can be in the room with someone of that polared belief? Moreover, are you able to embrace their presence and listen to them without judgment and with an open mind?  Can you not agree with them but love them as a fellow human being?  If so then that might suggest that you understand you spirituality and moral platform and that you do not feel threatened by others.  
The fourth topic is Relationships and its importance to the Self.  The past 20 years have raised arguments that social skills are a form of intelligence.  More significant is the fact that social and family relationships just give you more life options and strengthens your potential happiness. If your family of origin is not a positive influence you can define your family. 

You must continue to work on strengthening your relationships regardless of how hard it might be. If you try and with some creativity you can create many ways to solidify your relationships.  My mother’s college friend sent me a birthday card with a tea bag wishing me a happy birthday several years ago.  She suggested I use the tea bag on a night when I wanted to relax.  I not only remembered this but her creativity and her efforts were greatly appreciated. 

Lastly, I would like to say “health better.”  We don’t have to be perfect.  But exercise more.  We don’t have to be superhero Thor.  Get a used bike and bike to the post office. Walk around the block after dinner.  A popular one is using the flight of stairs instead of the elevator.  Park further away from the building in the parking lot to walk a bit more.  You don’t have to have a gym membership.

Holiday health is always difficult.  Tell the family that has piles and piles of food that you have another obligation for dinner but you will be there for New Year’s Eve dinner for dessert.  Then eat a salad or a small portion without the pressure to eat so much food. You can say you already ate at the earlier engagement.  If you had difficulty this holiday season put this holiday food concern on your list to manage throughout the year with the upcoming holidays. And with that being said, Happy New Year and drink and drive safely. What about one glass of Champagne at midnight and not two drinks before the toast? 

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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