Finding Luck in the Unlucky

 

Green shirts were taken out of closets across the world as people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.  Friday marked the day that most people wear green to gain luck and to avoid getting pinched.  Thousands of fourth medical students waited with eager anticipation to hear about their matches.  Basketball players played in hopes of advancing to the next round in the NCAA March Madness Tournament(s).  Each of these students and players hoped they would be lucky enough to get their top choice, or when their game and hopefully that happened.  We would always hope that luck would find us, but things don’t always go as we would hope.  Sometimes we aren’t so lucky and we lose a game or don’t get our top match.  The following are a list of things we can cope when we are unlucky:

  1. Focus:  When things go wrong it is easy to wallow in self-pity, but if we focus on the positive we will be better served.  In every failure, there is an opportunity to grow.  When we miss a free throw or lose a game we learn how to better next time.  We watch the tape from our game and see where we went wrong.  It is okay to feel upset when you lose or don’t get your top choice when applying for a program.  Being upset shows that you cared and that you are human.  The problem, however, lies in how long we allow ourselves how long we stay upset and how much effect on us.  When it is all consuming and lingers on it becomes unhealthy.  When we focus on the positive we are better in the long run.  Losing a basketball game in the Big Dance means less practice and more time to rest after a long season.  There are so many sacrifices we make when we play or sport or go to school, and we have a little more time for ourselves during our time off.  Winning or getting our top choice would always be ideal, but there can be positives when we have to move in a different direction, or to a different state.

 

  1. Share: When things don’t go as planned share with others.  Lean on other people and ask for support.  When we don’t give voice to our emotions, or don’t share we lose the opportunity to get perspective.  It is highly likely that someone else has experienced the feelings you are experiencing and gone through a similar experience before.  That person might have insight or advice about what could be done differently in the future.  Life wasn’t meant to be lived in isolation and it is very helpful when we turn to other people.

 

  1. Imagine: When you are unlucky imagine how things could have been worse.  Maybe you could have lost by a larger deficit or gotten a choice for residency that would have taken you farther from your home state.  When things don’t go the way had hoped we can’t imagine things being any worse, but there is always an outcome worse than the one we are faced with.  When we imagine, we realize that we are not as misfortunate as we thought and are able to cope better.  When we are able to imagine different alternatives, we are able to prepare for the future and learn from the past.  Imagining the way things could have been makes it easier to live with our present reality.  Maybe you could have lost by a larger deficit or gotten your last choice instead of your second.

 

Hopefully, we will be lucky more often than not, but fortune is not always guaranteed.  Every now and then misfortune finds us and we must cope with disappointment.  Our circumstances are not up to us, but what we do with them is.  The way we process things is up to us and things that are listed above are just a few things you can do.

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Surfing the Aftershocks of Grief on 9/11

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Every day is made up of 1,440 minutes and we often have trouble distinguishing one day from the next.  Life can be mundane and we are often busy running from one place to the next in order to achieve a given task.   In their song In a Hurry the band Alabama writes ” I’m in a hurry and don’t know why” and this is often the attitude of most Americans.  Most of us don’t know why we are running around and are so busy that we forget what happened yesterday, or last week, or last month.  We often lose perspective and we fail to see what is right in front of us because we are so busy as we take a ride of the never ending merry go round of life.  Then there are times when that merry go round comes to screeching halt.  Something happens and we never forget that moment in time and where we were on the day the thing happened.  The thing could be a formidable event and today- we pause as we remember the lives lost on September 11th 2001.  Those of us that were alive on September 11th, 2001 will never forget where we when we heard about the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center.  Fifteen years have passed since that day, but we can still feel the aftershocks of the event.  There are several things that we can do to mitigate stress brought on by the anniversary of death or a traumatic event.  The following are a few strategies for handling these situations:

 

  1.  Give Voice to Grief:  Some find it comforting to share about the death of a loved one.  In the days and weeks following a death we are often overwhelmed by thoughts of the person who died, but eventually this lessens.  In time we come to think about this person less but anniversaries of the loss can be hard.  Anniversaries of a death or tragic event serve as a reminder about what and/or who was lost and can leave the living with raw emotions that can be hard to sift through.  Giving voice to grief on an anniversary can be helpful in letting people know what you’re dealing with and that you’re hurting.  Writing about the event or person lost is another way to give voice to grief and is an easier way to handle the situation in a more private manner.  Some find it hard to discuss those lost on the day of an anniversary so it is important to note that there is no right way to do grief.

 

  1. Get Out of the House:  Spending the anniversary of a loss, whether it be a death or some other event, can make the day even more painful make sure that you don’t spend it alone.  Find a friend or a loved one who you feel comfortable confiding in and spend time with that person.  If you go out and you spend the whole day thinking about the person or event at the very least you won’t be alone.  If you go out and don’t spend the whole day thinking about the person or event, you will end the day on a positive note and have a shared your day with a loved one.

 

 

  1. Get Plenty of Rest: In the wake of a loss our schedules can get thrown off balance and we can lose sleep.  When we lose sleep our bodies do not have time to recover from stress and we can get sick.  When we get sick we often miss out and have to take time off work or school as we recover from illness.  The anniversary of a death or tragic event can leave us reeling and send us back to the place where we started when the loss occurred if we aren’t careful which is why it’s important to be mindful of how much we sleep and to pay attention to the quality of the sleep we are getting.

 

  1. Don’t Forget to Eat: When our schedules get thrown off balance we often forget to eat because we get busy or lose our appetite and we don’t eat because we don’t feel like it.  Sometimes we have to be very, very intentional in the way we manage our lives and this is also true when it comes to our diet.  It is important that we remember to be intentional and not skip meals on the day of an anniversary of the death or traumatic event.

 

 

  1. Remember: The first few anniversaries following a death or traumatic event filled with memories of those lost, but over time these memories fade. As time goes on and years pass it becomes harder to remember which is why it is important to be intentional and think about the thing that happened.  You may have an old photo album filled with pictures or there may be a story on the news about the event or person on the anniversary of the death or event.  Remembering can take many forms and change over time, but spending time thinking about this past event can help you realize what you lost and how you’ve changed.  Some questions you could ask yourself are:  How has this event changed me?  Has it changed me in a way I wanted to change?  What can I do if it has changed me in a way I did not want to change?

 

Then just like that the merry go round starts back up and life starts again.  The anniversary of the death or traumatic event doesn’t last forever and hopefully can strategies can help to make a painful experience a little less intense.

Fall into the Routine of Fall

 

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Back to School displays line the aisles of many Wal-Marts right now.  If you walk further down the aisles you will also see displays of sunscreen, beach towels,  beach balls, pool toys, and anything else you might need for a day out on the beach or out in the pool and as you walk away things get a little confusing.  This time of year marks a period of transition between summer and fall and it can be hard to pinpoint the season we are in.  Some students have already gone back to school, but this weekend is the last week of summer for many Texans in the education field or those who are in school themselves.  On Monday many children and teens will go back to school and their fall semester will start.  The next few weeks will be hard and filled with adjustment to new schedules as students and teachers get used to hearing the sound of their alarm clock again.  During this season our lives can seem chaotic and stressful as we get used to the changes all around us.  It is important to establish a routine with your children and teens in order to help make this change easier.  The following are a few suggestions on how to establish and maintain a routine.

Sit down with your child and discuss your schedules.  If your child does not have a calendar get one for your child before you go over your schedules.  The best time to discuss your schedules would be any and every time you become aware of a schedule change.  Sometimes things get added to our schedules and /or an event or meeting is cancelled or changed.  It can be easy to leave out the details and forget to tell our loved ones about a cancelled meeting or event, but you MUST discuss these things with your children and your spouse.   More stress is added when the  fall semester starts and the first bell rings.  If we forget to tell our children that we can’t pick them up because our boss schedules an unexpected meeting, or if our children forget to tell us that their  football practice or their ballet class was cancelled  that means we will be more stressed and more likely to get sick as a result.  If you find yourself unable to sit down to discuss your schedules with your family members remember to text or call as things come up.

Make sure you wear a watch and check it often.  If your child does not have a watch get one for your child BEFORE school starts or during the first few days of school.  Having a watch and keeping track of track of the time will help reorient your child to the idea of having and maintaining a routine.  During the summer months we often go on vacation and our schedules change.  We often leave our calendars and watches behind and don’t keep track of time like we do when we our back home and doing life the way we are use to.  Wearing a watch helps keep children and educators accountable as they go about their day.

When the bell rings and the day is over take time to make sure your children get their homework done.  When discussing schedules account for homework time and make time to help your children or make sure they can get tutoring from a teacher or a private tutor if you cannot help.  Factor your children into your schedule and take some time for your children during the week.  Parents and teachers can often become busy with work and children can take a back seat to other priorities that they have.  It is also important to take time for household chores and other non-related school activities.  These things should be discussed with parents and children to ensure that everyone is on the same page.  During the school year our lives often get busy and we can forget to discuss our schedules and events that are coming up.  Problems are soon to follow if we do not take time to discuss things.

Problems also arise when we do not take breaks.  It is important to take time to relax and unwind every so often.  Life often becomes busy with football, and dance, and church and choir, and everything else under the sun, and it is important to take a break sometime.  Too much activity can cause burn out and/or illness.  Students and teachers become less effective when they do not take breaks and deny themselves the opportunity to rest and have fun.

In a few weeks the Back to School displays will be taken down and life will change again as we head into the fall- and get ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Right now everything is just beginning so it is important to be intentional as we transition into fall.  This becomes even important if we are in school or if we are in education.  Life can be very stressful during this time of year, but it can also be one of the best times of year if you brace yourself and adjust as summer fades into fall.  There is so much to celebrate during this time of year and hopefully these suggestions will help make it easier as the seasons change and we head into the final months of 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Valentine’s Day Shift Change

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We’re only three days into February, but Valentine’s decorations have been on the shelves for a few weeks now. On December 26th I went to my local Walmart and I saw Valentine’s decorations on the same shelves where the Christmas decorations had been not even 48 hrs earlier.  Amazon has suggestions for the perfect gift for my significant other every time I go to their webpage, and my inbox is full of promotional emails advertising for Valentine’s specials.  This time of year there is intense focus on the physical aspects of love or what we might more easily define as “eros” love.  There are also other types of love, but unfortunately there is not as much focus on the other types of love during the month of February.  Valentine’s Day lasts for 24 hrs, but yet we change our focus and spend our time and money as if this holiday is a season of life.

This year I want to challenge you to stop for a second. I want to ask you turn on your television, or radio.  Look at your social media and see what’s going on with your friends, and your extended family, and in the community.  Take time to focus on the other types of love- like “phileo” or brotherly love and “agape” or sacrificial love.  Take time to focus on the other people in your life, or in the community.  Instead of thinking of the perfect gift think of ways to serve those who are hurting or in need of support.  Is there shelter that needs volunteers?  What about a soup kitchen?  What about your sister or brother in law?  Do they need a babysitter so they can go out for Valentine’s Day?  How can you refocus this Valentine’s and think of the other ways to love and focus on the other types of love?

Things that go Bump in the Night: The Most Common Fears and What to Do About Them

It’s mid- October and in a few weeks we will celebrate Halloween.  This season brings a lot of focus on costumes and candy and so much more.  Children and young adults are spending a lot time thinking about what their costume for parties or trick-or-treating.   By now most of us have already decorated our houses and our tables are adorned with pumpkins, and mummies, and witches.  Our walls are adorned with pictures and wall hangings of skeletons, and skulls, and all sorts of things the frighten and haunt us.  Needless to say this season brings a lot of focus on what scares us.  Each of us have a different list of fears or phobias, but many of us fear the same things.  The following is list of common fears that people have and a few suggestions and/or questions on how to tackle these head on.

  1. Fear of Public Speaking: If you are afraid of public speaking know that you are in good company. Many of us have taken public speaking classes in school, yet remain fearful.  If you still find that you are afraid of public speaking I encourage you to keep practicing and to think about what scares you the most.  There are many things that make people afraid of public speaking, but because we are busy we fail to think about this.  When we don’t practice our public speaking and we don’t think about what scares us we fail to get over our fear of public speaking.
  2. Fear of Heights: If you are afraid of heights I encourage you to think about the root cause.  What scares you the most?  What would happen if you traveled to a high elevation such as a mountain and looked down? Would you be safe or not?  Why or why not?  If you willing and able take it a step further0- imagine yourself on top of that mountain.  What would be like?  How would you feel?
  3. Fear of Enclosed Spaces: If you are afraid of enclosed spaces try to think about the smallest and most enclosed space you would feel comfortable in. What makes you feel uncomfortable with being in a smaller space?  What would happen if you challenged yourself by going into a space smaller than is comfortable for you?  Next take it a step further and envision yourself in that enclosed space. What does that feel like?
  4. Fear of the Dark: Many children are afraid of the dark and most of the time this does not carry in to adulthood.  Sometimes it does, and it can be crippling.  People cope by using a nightlight, or avoiding situations where they have they have to go out in the dark.  In this case I would ask where this fear came from?  Did something ever happen that made you afraid of the dark?  If yes, than it might be prudent to follow up with a mental health provider and discuss that in greater detail.  If you haven’t and your fear of the dark keeps you from functioning normally I would also recommend going to a mental health provider
  5. Fear of Snakes,  and/or Spiders:  If you are afraid of snakes, and/or spiders think about the root cause?  What triggered this fear?  Did something ever happen to make you afraid of snakes, or spiders?  What would happen if you put yourself in the company of snakes or spiders? If you are willing to take it a step further imagine yourself in the company of snakes and/or spiders?  What would it be like?  How would you feel?
  6. Fear of Medical Needles: At some point or another all of us will have to go to the doctor.  Sooner or later all of us will have to get blood work or immunizations.  Many of us will present with fear of the needle that is involved in getting blood drawn, or getting an immunization.  If so ask yourself why you are afraid?  Also, remember that you have the option of looking away.  It may be the pain associated with the needle you are afraid of and if that is the case I ask yourself to think about the benefit of having blood drawn, or receiving an immunization.  The pain is temporary but the benefits last a lot longer.
  7. Fear of the Dentist: As with the other fears on this list I ask you to think about the root cause of your fear of the dentist?  Did something happen to make you afraid?  If so what can you do about it now?  What are the benefits of going to the dentist?  What are the risks of not going?  If you are willing imagine what it would be like if you did go.  What’s the worst that could happen?  What’s the best thing that could happen?
  8. Fear Thunder of Lightening: This is a common fear among children, but sometimes this carries on in to adulthood.  Whether it does or not, I would ask you to ask yourself why you are scared?  Has something ever happened that made you scared of thunder or lightening?  If so what made you scared?  What is the worst thing that could happen if you heard thunder or lightening?
  9. Fear of Death: We are often scared of what we don’t know and death is something that the living have yet to experience.  There is no way for us to know what it is like after we die, but we certainly have ideas on what the future will hold for us after we leave this world behind us.  As we grow older and as our strength fades we may begin to think differently about death, but this is not true for all.  Everyone experiences death at a different age and our understanding of things is based on intellect, and experience so thoughts and fears regarding death vary.  The only thing I have to offer- is a challenge to ask yourself why you are afraid of death?  Also- know that your experience will not be the same as others who have gone on before you.

There are many more fears and the list could go for on for days, but those are some of the many.  Books have been written about this and this really only scratches the surface, but I do hope that this gets you thinking and moving in a good direction.

How To Juggle: Keeping Balance of Things When Life Gets Chaotic

Last Monday thousands of children went back to school.  With that came a change in season.  Summer brings a change in the pace of life, but things pick back up when students go back to school.  Parents have to juggle between work, and they also have the added stress of having to drop off and pick up their kids from school.  If their children are involved in extracurricular activities or are members of a community organization parents have one more thing to contend with.  Children have to juggle between school and their organizations if they are a part of one.  Life can seem chaotic and we often have trouble managing.  When our lives get busy we neglect ourselves, and things are left undone.  Some of us may lose sleep and become irritable.  Sometimes all of the stress becomes too much and we get sick.  When this happens we end up missing work or school because we have been stressed out as we try to get things done.  Needless to say, it is necessary to find balance between work/school and life.  Here are a few ways to help you manage:

1.   Create a Schedule: Get a calendar and start scheduling time that will be devoted to work.  Make sure to work when your schedule yourself to work, and do not put it off.  When your time is up stop working and goes to the next thing.  If you have children factor them into your schedule.  If you are involved in a community organization and you have a meeting or an event make sure to put that on your calendar.  Try not to deviate from the schedule you create.

2.  Take Breaks:  Don’t become so busy that you are not taking breaks from your work.  It is important to get your work done, but it is also important to a break every once in a while.  You may have a lot accomplish, but working or studying without taking a break once in a while makes it harder to focus.  We are often told that we should take breaks when we are driving long distances, and it is the same with work whether it is school work or work for a job in the workforce.  We may think that we are accomplishing a lot by working until it’s all done, but we are actually less effective when we don’t take breaks.

3.   Reward Yourself:  Reward yourself when you finish your work.  Find something you like and reward yourself with when you finish.  If you like chocolate, or another type of candy buy some candy and keep it on hand.  When you finish your work, or some other task reward yourself.  If you complete a small task make it a small reward.  If you’ve just completed a large task make it a larger reward.  The reward can be something tangible, or it can be something intangible. The point is that it should be used a tool to motivate you and keep you focused on the task at hand.

4.    Find Accountability:  Find someone to hold you accountable.  Talk to that person and tell them what you are working on.  Have him/her check in on and you to see how you’re coming along.  Having someone to hold you accountable makes it more likely that you will get the task done and that you will achieve your goals.

As the days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, this season will change and more things will come up.  Soon summer will fade into fall, and we will have even more on our plate as the end of the year approaches.  With the coming of fall comes a few of the biggest holidays.  Soon we will have parties, and gatherings to go to, and people to shop for as Christmas approaches.  All of this will bring added stress and more things to juggle but hopefully, these suggestions will make just a little bit easier for you to find balance between work and life.

Learning Never Takes a Holiday

Summer is here and with that comes a change in the climate.  This season also brings a change in the pace of life and the opportunity to get away from the everyday stresses of life.  This looks different for all of us.  Some of us go to Florida, or California to spend time on laying out, or surfing on the hot sandy beaches.  Some of us escape the mountains in Colorado, or Arizona.  Some of us go to Europe to make to see things they have always dreamed about seeing.  Students get a break from school and learning takes on a different approach.  Learning happens outside of the classroom in the summer months and the lessons we are taught are different.

All of us learn lessons throughout our lives whether we are students or not.  All of us are growing and developing into the people we are supposed to become.  This season I want to ask you to be intentional as you take a break from life.  Take a moment to consider all that you have learned and all that you have let to learn.  Ask yourself where you are and want to be.  Then come up with ways to get there.  Ask yourself if there is anything you are not doing that you could be doing to foster growth and development in your life.

If you are a parent do the same for your children.  Help them figure out what they are and where they want to go.   Help them figure out how to get there.  Then ask them the same questions you would ask yourself.  Help direct them, and be their guide as the learn and grow outside of the classroom.  What we learn outside of the classroom is just as valuable and meaningful as what we learn in the classroom.  This summer as you take a break realize that learning never takes a holiday.

Caring for the Zebras: Loving and Helping People With Rare Diseases

Most of us know that February is Heart Month, and that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but few of us are aware that March is World Rare Disease Month.  Currently, there are 7,000 different types of rare diseases, and disorders, and more are being discovered with each passing day.   In the US 10% have a rare disease.  Many of these are people you know, people who pass you by each day, and many of them struggle in so countless ways.  With that said, I want to share a list of things  to say when someone tells you that they have been affected by a rare disease, and I also want to give you some ways to help individuals or families with rare diseases.

What to Say and What Not Say When Someone Tells You

What to Say

  1. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.
  2.  That must be rough.
  3.  That sounds hard.
  4. Thanks for sharing with me.  I know that must have been hard for you to share that.
  5. What can I do for you?These are just ideas, but what I’m really trying saying is – be sympathetic. Let your words show that care.  Sometimes all someone needs is a positive word of encouragement.

What NOT to Say

  1. But you don’t look sick!
  2. I know someone that had _________- and they
  3. Oh you poor thing
  4.  Bless your heart
  • #3 or #4:  These may be okay to say depending on the person/family and his/her/their reaction as they tell you about their illness, but it would be better to remind the person how strong he/she is.  It takes enormous strength to live with any disease, disorder, or syndrome, and it would be best if you remind him/her/them of their strength.

How to Help Individuals or Families With Rare Diseases

Individuals

  1.  Offer to go to an Appointment- as moral support
  2. Offer to take the individual to his/her medical appointment
  3. Offer to run errands for individual if he/she is unable to
  4. Offer to do household work if he/she in unable to
  5. Cook or Bake for the individual if he she is unable to.

Families

  1. Offer to go to an Appointment- as moral support
  2. -it would be especially helpful that you do this if the parent is divorced, unmarried, widowed,
  3. Offer to take the individual to his/her medical appointment
  4. Offer to run errands for individual if he/she is unable to
  5. Offer to do household work if he/she in unable to
  6. Cook or Bake for the individual if he she is unable to.
  7. Offer to Babysit When Husband and Wife need or want to go out.

These rare diseases are by chronic by nature, and unlike other diseases cannot always be cured.  95% of rare diseases do not have an FDA drug approved treatment so your ongoing support is vital.  In all of this I hope to raise awareness, and give you tools to help the many people who have been touched by a rare disease.

Anti Valentine’s Day: Three Issues Fought About in Marital and Premarital Couples

Turn on the radio and there’s a good you will hear a song about a couple who can’t along.  Taylor’s Swift is Never Ever Getting Back together, and George Strait’s ex’s live in Texas.  You will hard pressed to find a song about a happy, functional couple because of the US divorce rate.  In this day and age many couples marry, but many get divorced.  There are many things that couples fight about, but there three issues that are more commonly fought about than others.  Couples fight about money, sex, and kids more than anything else.  With that said, my advice to you is to talk about these things before you tie the knot with your significant other.  If you are already married and this is something that has recently come up take a step back, and talk to your spouse.

Before you walk down the aisle, sit down with your fiancé and talk about your finances.  Talk about your spending habits, and your ideas about money.  Talk about your finances.  If you took out loans for college and are still working on paying them off let your fiancé know.  If you took out a loan for a car let your fiancé know.  Consider working out a budget as the wedding gets closer.  If you find that you have completely different ideas talk about how you’re going to manage despite your differences. Talk to a friend, or someone you trust who can help you find a solution about your issues regarding money.  Read a book, or attend a conference about money management, or stewardship.  I definitely recommend premarital counseling, and I hope that this is something that will be discussed.  If you are already married, find someone to talk to whether it be a friend, family member, pastor, or counselor.

You should also talk about sex.  When you talk about sex discuss your past relationships and how intimate you were.  As painful as it may be, know that is necessary to tell your fiancé or spouse if you are a survivor of sexual abuse.  Your relationship should be a safe place to discuss past hurts. If you find yourself regressing because of your discussion about past sexual abuse I recommend that you seek out the help of a counselor.  If you do not feel comfortable discussing past abuse, or if you find that you your loved one does not respond appropriately than you will need to decide if you are comfortable continuing on in the relationship. You may need to talk about this in marriage or premarital counseling.

The last things that needs talked about is children. If you don’t have kids talk about it, and decide if you want to have children. Talk about your ideas regarding child rearing, and decide how you will raise your future children. If you are woman reading this and you can’t have children talk to your fiancé or husband about adoption or fostering. Is he open to adoption? Why or why not? If you already have children, and find yourself disagreeing about how to raise them take some time to discuss this when the children not present. Your children do not need to be present for a conversation about how to raise them. By the time we get engaged, or married we already have ideas the raising of children, and we have learned from our past. Our parents, and teachers teach us how to raise children, and this should factor into your conversation about children, and child rearing. If you need advice seek out the advice of a friend, family member, someone else that you trust. Attend a class on child development or child birth. Volunteer to babysit a niece, nephew or young cousin, or volunteer to do childcare at your church nursery. If you want children take time to learn before you have them. Again, this should be something that is discussed in martial or premarital counseling.

Every couple will have different ideas about these issues because each person has come from a different place, but hopefully you will be able to find a middle ground. I hope that you grow and learn from each other as you talk. It is normal to disagree from time to time, but it is important to compromise. Living and being in a relationship is hard, but it beats the alternative of being alone.

Giving Your New Year’s Resolutions a Second Chance

New Years has come and gone, but remnants of January 1st are all around us.  Pictures from that epic New Year’s Eve party are still visible on our Facebook feed.  We might have neglected to put away our Christmas decorations and they may be visible as well. We may have also neglected to keep our New Year’s Resolutions.  Many of us set out with good intentions, but it’s hard to keep up with them.  If you are reading this and this sounds familiar to you, read on!  The following are a list of questions to ask yourself:

1.  Are My Goals Realistic? :  In my first blog entry, last January, I suggested that people set realistic goals.  If you have failed already neglected your goals ask yourself if they were realistic?  Did you set the bar too high?  Many people set out with good intentions, but they make goals that will be very hard to attain.  Some people tell themselves they will lose weight in the New Year which is a good and healthy goal to make.  But, the problem lies in how much people expect themselves to lose. Some people make goals to lose a significant amount of weight in an unreasonable amount of time.  When this happens and people fail they feel bad about it.  This can be avoided if they think reasonably and make realistic goals.

2.  What Have My Mistakes Taught Me? :  If you have already broken your resolutions I urge you to take a step back. As you take look back ask yourself this:  what have my mistakes taught me?  I also urge you to look back further.  Think about goals you have made in years past.  Are any of your present goals ones you have made in the past? How did you do in the past?  If you haven’t met your goals in the past, what will you do differently to ensure that you meet them this year?  If you have neglected to keep your resolutions I encourage you to try again.  Every day is a new day and it’s not too late!

3.  How Will You Reach Your Goals? :  After you ask yourself what your mistakes have taught you, ask yourself this:   what will it take to get me there?  How will I achieve my goals?  One thing that may help is to come up with a list of steps it will take to achieve your goal(s).  If your goal is to lose weight ask yourself how you plan on meeting your goal.  Next decide what steps you will need to take to lose weight.

4.  Do I Have Support? :  If you have failed to keep your goals, I urge you to talk to other people.  Ask them to hold you accountable as you work try to get back on track.  The poet John Donne once said, “[n]o man is an island,” and this is certainly true.  People do better when they have support. It is harder when you go at it alone and a lot easier when you have help.

It is my hope this list is another source of help as work to get back on track.  The end of January is approaching at warp speed, but you don’t have to abandon your New Year’s Resolutions.  Christmas decorations will eventually be put up, but I encourage you to do differently with your New Resolutions.  You leave them up, and continue to work on them all year.