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New Year, New Ideas
Because we associate the New Year with starting a diet, it may be hard to shake the idea. Come January first and you’re just itching to turn over that new leaf, write that next chapter in your eating or weight story, dump the old body and break out the new one. Although resolutions can seem artificial and silly, a new year seems the right time for a fresh start. This year make sure you’re not following the herd and behaving like a sheep. Make sure your resolutions are in your long-term best interest.
Instead of setting goals on eating and weight and rushing to transform yourself into Ms. or Mr. America, how about focusing on which personality traits you’d like to hold onto and which ones you’d like to ditch in 2008. Forget about your appearance and consider how you might become what psychology calls your ego ideal—the person you would like to be. Maybe you interrupt too often or don’t put yourself first, keep your mouth shut when you should be speaking up, or go at it with both barrels when a bit of mum and a smile would do the trick.
No one is perfect and perfection isn’t the goal of transformation. The objective is to become more of the who you want to be, to keep working on yourself because it is part of human nature to want to improve. Stop trying to do a complete internal make-over; instead, pick one or two traits you’re not wild about and focus on them. Maybe they’ll help you with your food and body struggles and maybe not. The idea is to use a fresh start to get into the groove of practicing new thinking and behaviors. One of the pitfalls of New Year’s resolutions is that you start off gung ho with a full head of steam forgetting about the hard work ahead. So this time start off slowly, in a measured way, paying attention to a couple of aspects of yourself that you’d like to alter. Don’t expect to change all at once and keep an even pace.
Think about why you haven’t succeeded in changing in the past. Was it because you expected too much too quickly? Got impatient and gave up? Tried to make too many alterations at once and got overwhelmed? Didn’t have enough patience and compassion for yourself? Never expected change to be so hard? This time give yourself all the time in the world and pat yourself on the back for every small shift in a positive direction. Be curious when you repeat old behavior, laugh at it if you can; remind yourself that you have a whole lifetime to get the hang of acting differently. In fact, the best resolution you can make for 2008 is to start looking at transformation in a different way, not as a goal to achieve but as a process that will take time, patience, and effort.