a special feature from Bonnie Compton, Parent Coach & Child /Adolescent Therapist*
It’s a new year and hopefully a chance for a clean slate. Does that thought excite or terrify you? Often when we think of the New Year, we think of New Year Resolutions—commitments we make to better ourselves. However, there can be heaviness associated with New Year’s resolutions. You tell yourself, ”I’m going to lose 10 pounds” (while your internal dialogue says: “Why do I continue to eat mindlessly, grabbing that last piece of cake…what is wrong with me?”)—or. “I’m going to exercise 5 days per week.” (internal dialogue says: “I said the same thing last year and that didn’t happen! This year, I’m really going to do it…I can’t let myself fail this time!”)
(FYI) New Year’s resolutions…
Are made—and broken. Research suggests that 25% of the resolutions are broken within the first week, and after a six-month period only 46% are maintained. That means 54% have been lost or broken! Talk about setting ourselves up for failure!
Can create angst. They may seem like a good idea on January 1, but then feel like a burden a few months later.
Are often associated with feelings of guilt!
Rather than making and breaking New Year’s resolutions, I suggest a self-reflective approach.
When you approach life self-reflectively…
You’re given the opportunity to make positive changes, moment to moment.
Your internal GPS allows you to course correct as needed. Rather than beating yourself up for eating that last piece of chocolate cake, you can choose to view your thoughts and behavior with curiosity. Instead of berating yourself for devouring the piece of cake, try asking yourself —“I’m curious why I decided to eat the cake…what was going on in my mind and body?”
From that curious place, without self-judgment, you’re able to make healthier decisions. You may have discovered that when you are stressed, you grab the first piece of food in sight!
Once you’ve determined why you do what you do—positive long lasting changes can take place.
You are then able to set your intentions in real time.
As you begin to live life self-reflectively, don’t forget to celebrate your successes!
*Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP
Child & Adolescent Therapist
Parent Coach Parenting Partners, LLC
Host of Wholehearted Parenting Radio