Sunday, 1 January 2012

I XX RESOLVE TO ?? THIS YEAR!


TIP... as this is a longer article remember that you can magnify your screen!

As we enter a new age and a new year it is time once again to make those resolutions. But hold on a minute, let’s stop and consider the most common scenario. People make pretty standard resolutions such as ‘I am going to stop smoking,’ or ‘I am going on a diet to lose x amount of weight.’ These are popular themes born out by the fact that the gyms are bursting to the brim with energetic people stretching their limbs & burning up their excess calories. Sadly a few weeks later many people have reverted back to their usual lifestyle satisfied that they tried but the resolution wasn’t for them.

Very often we don’t really stop to consider our resolutions fully before launching into them which is partially why we fail. The first thing you need to do is to decide what type of resolution will provide you with a target, a sense of achievement and fit into your lifestyle. It’s a good idea to write down the things you would really like to achieve this year and what you would need to do to reach your goals.

In the current economic climate we need to consider our personal financial restrictions, especially when planning ‘new moves’ as over extension of our finances will cause mental stress. A good move is to check out the consequences should you change your mind before you sign on the dotted line. For instance, If paying for gym membership make sure that it is affordable and be aware of the terms of membership. These days there are agreements that can be easily cancelled without penalties. Secondly make sure that the resolution fits in with existing commitments. Planning to go to an art class on a Tuesday evening if you have small children is no good until you have negotiated with your partner or secured a reliable babysitter. The same applies when committing yourself to study, as I have realised through over-extending by taking on a management course whilst doing 101 things!

In real terms you are most likely to keep a resolution if you identify the benefits it holds for you. It is no good doing something just to do it. If I said to you, ‘I am going to climb Mount Everest,’ you would probably respond ,’why?’ To simply say, ‘because that’s my resolution,’ is really a bit random. Instead, if I were to say that I admire people who have climbed Mount Everest and crave that feeling of personal fulfilment resulting from the dedication involved, you would be able to understand my goal and relate to the intention. Understanding will encourage support which in turn assists achievement. When making resolutions it is good to try & get support from family and friends as they will want to see you succeed. If they don’t then you might need to resolve to look at your relationships!

If you are not used to setting goals it is a good idea to choose something simple to start with. It might be that you are busy bringing up a young family or are always in a rush to get to work. A simple goal would be to get up 15 minutes earlier to meditate or reflect upon the coming day. Both of these would achieve a sense of space, ‘me time’ & focus before being thrown into the busy routine. Once you have developed this habit, which usually takes around 6 weeks to be deemed successful, you can move on to a new resolution. Remember, life is about building blocks... to take us onwards & upwards!

Whatever you may resolve to do, the bottom line is that we are human. We have good days & bad days which means that if we have a bad day and eat the fresh cream cake, fail to exercise or shout at people when we pledged patience, we need to regard this as a temporary set back rather than saying we have failed & throw the resolution out of the window. Some people maintain their focus better than others or have great self discipline however the art of success is to get back on track quickly and not lose sight of the goal!

The best types of resolutions are positive and need to be easy to put into place taking account of your lifestyle... If you have young children & wish to go to Art Classes every Tuesday you will need to make sure that you have reliable childcare organised otherwise you will become frustrated and behind with your course. Not biting off more than you can chew is another essential... yes, I should have heeded my own advice before commencing a difficult management course that is overly demanding of my time! It is mentally more stimulating to set a positively worded resolution such as I will eat at mealtimes and only eat healthy snacks rather than ‘I won’t eat sweets & biscuits.’ We will look at this in more detail another time.

Finally, don’t demand too much of yourself. If you can only manage gym every three days then go every three days; it is better to build up than cut back! Maybe we need some pain to gain but on the other hand there is no point crippling yourself... that defeats the object. Know yourself.. that is key to success. BTW, always keep a record of your progress and try to include short notes and pictures where applicable to spur you on!

If you wish to tell us how you get on with your resolutions at any point this year write to itsbraap@live.co.uk...

Here’s to success & may 2012 prove to be a very Happy New Year!!

Our next article in this series (08/01/12) will be 'Facing The Cobra'... A quick guide to meditation.

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