One way to actually achieve your New Year’s Resolution is to develop a practice around it. A practice is something you do on a regular basis. Here are some of my practices:

  • Silent meditation 10 minutes a day
  • Cardio exercises 2 to 3 mornings a week
  • Surfing Your Enthusiasm: Transformational Goal-Setting each morning
  • Cook our week’s worth of dinners each weekend
  • Belly dance 1 to 2 evenings a week

girl doing yoga in grass

I have found that adding a practice to my life is a great way to establish what I’m wanting to achieve in a goal I’ve set. It’s a step that can increase your chance of accomplishing what you’ve decided you want to do, especially if it becomes a long-term practice.

I have also found that adding more than one practice to my life at a time doesn’t work. If I try to add more than one, I feel scattered. And I don’t maintain any of the practices I tried to add. When I add one and work on establishing it in my life and keep working on it until it’s established, there’s a much higher chance that it will stick.

Think of the New Year’s Resolution you chose this year. Is there a practice you can take up to support that resolution?

Is your resolution to eat healthier? Think of one practice you could add, such as choosing a healthy breakfast to eat each morning. Once that’s established, choose your next healthy-eating practice.

Is your resolution to get in better shape? Your practice could be to go to the gym, but make it more specific than that. Go to the gym at the same time each day you go. Let it become a habit that becomes part of your life. I worked at an organization that had a gym. Three days a week, I would work out at the gym during the lunch hour and eat my lunch at my desk while I worked afterwards.

Is your resolution to get back to your creative writing. One practice you could do is 10 minutes of free-form writing each morning. This would oil those rusty wheels and help your writing momentum get going.

Here’s to accomplishing our New Year’s Resolutions one practice at a time!

 

Image courtesy of sakhorn38 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I like picking one word to focus on throughout the coming year that represents a change I would like to make in my life rather than picking a traditional New Year’s resolution. For 2012, I picked “streamline.” I tend to make things more work than they need to be.

This year, I asked myself regularly whether there was an easier, more streamlined way to do the things I was doing. I also noticed my perfectionism had a way of bogging things down so I picked people who were successful yet not perfectionistic and used them as role models.

I have seen a significant change in how quickly I’m getting things done, and I’m feeling a lot lighter and happier as a result of making this focus.

When I choose a word, I hold it lightly throughout the year and allow it to happen. I notice opportunities to apply it, but I never force myself to focus on it to the point of feeling drudgery.

In 2011, I chose “blossom” as my word of the year. But that year ended up being more about boundaries than blossoming. I wrote about it in Word of the Year —Boundaries. I was reaching beyond where I actually was in my life when I picked my word in 2011. Now, I try to pick words that better fit where I am at. I pick a word that represents an area I want to grow in and seems like the next natural step rather than pie-in-the-sky thinking.

If you picked a word of the year for 2012, now’s a great time to reflect on how that word has impacted your life. It’s also a great time to start thinking about what word you’re going to pick for 2013.

Is It Perfectionism Or Your Strength?

I definitely have a perfectionistic streak. I used to feel guilty about it and thought I should be more laid back. I would make efforts to let go and be more easy going. I’d hang out with laid back people and try to emulate them. I’d criticize myself when perfectionism raised its ugly head.

Eventually, I felt like I was losing a part of myself. I’d see beautiful things people would create when they allowed their perfection to reign, like Martha Stewart’s amazing home decors. Over time, I realized that trying to make myself be more laid back than I was actually denied myself of expressing who I truly was. And denied the world the gifts I had to offer through my own “perfectionism.”

At one point, I worked in medical research and had my own biochemistry lab. The tasks I did were very precise. I had to pay attention to detail at a level most people wouldn’t have the patients for. The results of the whole research project relied on me doing my work meticulously. But that was my strength, so it was a good fit.

Now, I’m not saying that perfectionism can’t be taken to an unhealthy extreme. If it’s negatively affecting your relationships or slowing you down from accomplishing what you really want, it’s time to try and balance it. But don’t ever think that you have to let go of that precious high standard that’s at the core of your being. Instead, celebrate it and nurture it. Find places to express it where it’s truly needed, valued, and even treasured.

Hanging Onto Your Dreams in Times of Crisis

A number of us find it challenging to act on our goals and dreams when we’re busy supporting someone in our life that’s in great need. That can be an elderly parent, a sick relative, or a hurting friend.

Hand and Heart

For a few years now, my sister has been the person of great need in my life. In 2004, she was in a terrible car accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, she’s been left with serious difficulties as a result of her brain injury. Her needs come in waves. There are times when she’s doing well on her own and other times when she crashes and ends up hospitalized, almost dying. Each time she crashes, it’s a major crisis for my family. We all put in a tremendous amount of energy to try and support her.

My sister is going through one of those times right now. It’s been a challenge for me to find the right balance of supporting her, supporting my family, and not neglecting my own life.

During this time, I went on a business trip. It was wonderful to get away and forget about everything going on at home. On the last night of my trip, as I socialized with the my fellow seminar participants, my husband called. He had been mugged and sustained a terrible blow to his head. After seeing what my sister has gone through, it was terrifying for him to experience a serious head injury.

Jon’s orbit around his eye had been fractured and there was air in his cerebrospinal fluid. This was devastating to me. But as I left the group of seminar participants, my teacher told me to remember to still do my homework. Now you could take that as being insensitive, but her advice was actually good. It’s easy to drop everything when a crisis like this occurs, but that’s not always the healthiest choice. She knew that doing my homework would help keep me in balance. I’d actually be stronger in supporting others when I was talking care of myself.

Fortunately, it looks like my husband will fully recovery.

Sometimes, I wondered what other people thought when I was taking time for myself while my husband was recovering from his head injury, but I did it any way. It made me stronger overall, and I’m able to give to my sister, my family, and my husband in ways that I couldn’t have if I hadn’t taken that time out to focus on my own goals and dreams.

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