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Friday, 30 December 2011

It's been a Long December

"and there's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last."  Counting Crows, Long December

The Eve of a new year is upon us and I'm feeling pretty good about 2012.  You know, 2011 was supposed to be my year!  I was turning 30, moving up in my career, I had all these grand plans.  However, like most good intentions, they kinda petered out by late February.  2011 brought a lot of changes to my life; both good and not-so-good but all enlightening.

I have been reading The Happiness Project and follow Gretchen Rubin's Blog:  She has a great post about creating effective resolutions and keeping them.  Check out the tips below:

1. Ask: “What would make me happier?” It might having more of something good – more fun with friends, more time for a hobby. It might be less of something bad – less yelling at your kids, less nagging of your spouse. It might be fixing something that doesn’t feel right – more time spent volunteering, more time doing something to make someone else happier.
2. Ask: “What is a concrete action that would bring about change?” One common problem is that people make abstract resolutions, which are hard to keep. “Be more optimistic,” “Find more joy in life,” “Enjoy now,” are resolutions that are hard to measure and therefore difficult to keep. Instead, look for a specific, measurable action. “Distract myself with fun music when I’m feeling gloomy,” “Watch at least one movie each week,” “Buy a lovely plant for my desk” are resolutions that will carry you toward those abstract goals.
3. Ask: “Am I a ‘yes’ resolver or a ‘no’ resolver?” Some people resent negative resolutions. They dislike hearing “don’t” or “stop” or adding to their list of chores. If this describes you, try to find positive resolutions: “Take that dance class,” “Have lunch with a friend once a week.” Or maybe you respond well to “no.” 
4. Ask: “Am I starting small enough?” Many people make super-ambitious resolutions and then drop them, feeling defeated, before January is over. Start small! We tend to over-estimate what we can do over a short time and under-estimate what we can do over a long time, if we make consistent, small steps. If you’re going to resolve to start exercising (one of the most popular resolutions), don’t resolve to go to the gym for an hour every day before work. Start by going for a ten-minute walk at lunch or marching in place once a day during the commercial breaks in your favorite TV show. Little accomplishments provide energy for bigger challenges. Push yourself too hard and you may screech to a halt.
5. Ask: “How am I going to hold myself accountable?” Accountability is the secret to sticking to resolutions. That’s why groups like AA and Weight Watchers are effective, and there are many ways to hold yourself accountable. Accountability is why #2 is so important. If your resolution is too vague, it’s hard to measure whether you’ve been keeping it. A resolution to “Eat healthier” is harder to track than “Eat salad for lunch three times a week.”  Track your accountability on a chart or ask a close friend or relative to be your Accountability Partner. 
I tried to employ these tips while creating my resolutions which I outlined in a recent POST .  I was also presented with an interesting challenge last night.  My best friend, Aaemie said that she would like me to create a resolution for her.  This would help her to be more accountable to the resolution as she wouldn't just be letting herself down (which is sometimes not that hard to do) but also myself, if she didn't keep her resolution.  I think that's a great idea and had discussed that very thing earlier with Terry.  I asked her to create one for me too.

In order to try and keep myself accountable, I will be tracking my resolution progress on the blog.  I haven't yet figured out exactly how I'm going to do this but will keep you posted.

On that note, back to work I go.  I wish everyone a Happy New Year!  Be smart, stay safe and for the love of God (or whomever you bow your head to) DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!

xo M

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