Tips with Trish: A New Year

Dear Trish,

I’m not the best at following through with my New Year’s Resolutions. This year I am determined to make them realistic and attainable. I need some suggestions on how to follow through since that seems to be my biggest downfall. I start out with great ideas and aspirations and when I fall short, I just give up. I really need to stay on track this year. My top two hopes for the New Year are to stay more organized and to take better care of myself. I would appreciate some tips on either or both. Thanks.

Signed,

A New Year

 
Trish says,

Let me start by addressing the whole New Year Resolution phenomena. Resolutions are rather bittersweet. On the one hand, they give us permission to start over and clean the slate. Why we seem to struggle with doing this on our own at other times of the year is a mystery. Maybe it’s the calendar thing or the fact that we are not alone in our journey to start fresh. Whatever the reason, the New Year at least gives us permission to be hopeful. And I’m sure you agree that we, as Americans, could use a little more hope this year.

The negative side to resolutions however, is that our resolutions seldom work because they are based on the type of person we’re tired of being. We are often too focused on who or what we are not as opposed to looking at who or what we truly want to become. Plus, resolutions leave little room for growth since they are often all or nothing. They can be “broken” which sets us up for failure right from the start. Many of us feel discouraged by February and throw in the towel if January didn’t look like what we had anticipated. Time for a reframe. Consider your internal qualities you would like to nurture. Center yourself instead on who God wants you to become. This perspective might prove to be more fruitful than giving yourself a list of things you need to do.

Now, to address your resolutions more specifically. Organization and self-care, two good and very common goals for the New Year (both happen to be on my list as well). First, let me just say that although they are broad, I think picking two as opposed to ten is a good start. Back to the whole, don’t set yourself up to fail. In regards to organization, I would stick to some basics. Nowadays, we make it harder than it needs to be and simple is better. Get a new planner and some highlighters and color code your day. Review your day every morning or the night before. Clean your desk or work space every night before you go to bed so you have less clutter and can get up feeling less stressed. Consider putting sleeping and eating into your schedule as well. If you don’t get these two in, the others will suffer. Make them a priority.

In regards to self-care, schedule time for it in your planner, too, and give it a special color.  If you don’t schedule downtime, it will likely be the last thing you get to which on many days means you may never get to it. Self-care may actually be the most important in your efforts to be productive with the other things. Exercise, prayer, meditation, and time with family and friends are all important elements to taking care of yourself.

Good luck for a happy and prosperous 2017!

Trish

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