Ring in a New Year
If 2016 has left you feeling beat up and weary, rest assured, you’re not alone. But it’s time to kick 2016 in the past and happily usher in 2017. The optimist in me has been in hiding but I’m determined I’m going to find her and push her right back into a place of prominence in the new year!
The first step is to envision how you want your life to look on December 31, 2017. What do you want to have accomplished? A cleaner house, a better relationship with your children, debt paid off, healthier eating? So many choices but instead of the shotgun approach with so many goals that you never hit the target, choose a few important ones on which to focus your attention. It’s not enough to say “I want to pay off all my debt,” you must make a plan.
Journaling is a key technique that works for many people. I’m such a visual person that I need to see my goal in writing and even more importantly, to outline the steps and check them off as I accomplish them. Seeing it in writing helps affirm my determination. For instance, the year I was training for a marathon I wrote “ I WILL RUN A MARATHON!” and posted the note on my bathroom mirror. I then joined a training group for accountability and I kept a journal where I recorded every run. When I would begin to doubt myself, I would go back and look in my journal, track my progress, see how far I had come, visualize the finish line and feel empowered to continue.
Let’s take a situation specific to single parenting. For example, one of the most important parenting goals you can set is to refrain from making negative comments about your child’s other parent. A fabulous idea but how are you going to accomplish this goal? The first step is to write it down, “I will not speak badly of my ex.” Doesn’t that make it more real, not just a thought floating around but a tangible entity?
Ok, sounds good but what about the heat of the moment when they’ve done something that sends your blood pressure skyrocketing and a string of insults feels like the best way to make yourself feel better? Visualize each insult as a rock being thrown at your child. You would never knowingly hurt your child, but the reality is that your insults and negative comments are like arrows to their soul. Being aware of the damage negative words are inflicting on your precious offspring provides motivation to plan for an alternate action to de-escalate your emotions.
Find an option that works for you; listen to a soothing CD, jump rope 100 times, take a bath or snap a rubber band on your wrist when you feel a tirade coming on. The key is to be prepared with an action to take the place of your normal verbal rant. You can’t control what your ex does but you can control your reaction to it. The reward will be a healthier happier child and in turn a happier, healthier you.
I haven’t chosen my goal for the new year yet, but I will probably choose two, one for myself and one focusing on the relationships in my life. It’s a new start, choose a few goals and implement the actions to accomplish them. Picture yourself on New Year’s Eve 2017 toasting your achievements. Happy New Year and new goals!