Positively No Negativity Challenge
Day 59 of 84
Now that the New Year is about to begin, most folk will be making New Year’s Resolutions. The more common ones will include losing weight, decluttering the house, getting finances in order and quitting smoking.
You know the routine: you start with guns loaded and the best of intentions on January 1st but by Valentine’s Day most resolutions have become a fading memory. And then with guilt and negativity, most of the bad habits creep back in and you’re back where you started. I don’t think I’ll get on that merry-go-round this year.
Instead I will have a couple of themes for 2014. Having a theme has been much more beneficial to me than making resolutions or setting impossible goals. I started doing this a couple of years ago. My first theme was WTF, or in a less shocking word, whatever. I had found myself getting caught up in what everyone else was doing and worrying about other peoples’ expectations of me. I decided that rather than meddling in what my adult children were doing, or trying to control or change someone else’s behaviour or opinion, I would say to myself, “Whatever!”
And then get on with my own life, rather than pointing a finger at someone else.
Another year my theme was ‘reconnect’. That year I decided to get back in touch with people who used to be part of my life with whom I had lost contact. I tracked down some of those old friends and mentors and made a point of writing them and following up with getting together.
They were delighted and so was I. It made for a very positive and enriching year.
I find that ‘lose weight’ or ‘quit smoking’ are two common New Year’s resolutions that have negative connotations. They imply that something is wrong and needs fixing. How about changing those two things to the theme of ‘make healthy choices’? And then write down what those healthy choices would be, such as eat more fruit or go for a walk. At the end of the day, decide whether or not you’re happy with the last 24 hours; did you make healthy choices?
I found that having a theme like that was much more sustainable over the year than rigid resolutions I have made in the past. I have chosen two themes for 2014, which I hope will make for a very positive year.
Mindfulness is the first theme. This will include mindfulness with my food intake, thought patterns and activity level. I will practice mindfulness as I prepare meals or making choices in a restaurant. I will be mindful of my spending, asking myself if I really need this thing or am I buying it just because it’s on sale.
My other theme is Finding Joy. For this one I will look for the joy in my activities and add social encounters and activities that bring me joy. For example, if I am reading a book that someone has highly recommended but that I am not enjoying at all, I will put it down and find something to read more to my liking.
These two themes will be posted in my agenda and on my wall so that I won’t forget about them. And then at the end of each day I can ask myself two questions:
1. Was I mindful of my food, activity and words today? If not, what can I do better tomorrow?
2. Was there joy in my day? If not, how could I have injected joy into my activity?
How about you? Will you be making New Year’s resolutions, setting goals or making themes for the next year? Or will you let the year unfurl, as it will?
Today I am grateful:
1. For a lovely family gathering yesterday
2. For the winter wonderland that is my neighborhood
3. For a little chat with my mom
4. For a warm duvet on a cold night
5. For this moment