Focus on the small in 2013

The practice of New Year’s resolutions is a way of clearing the slate- starting fresh with big plans for how this year will be different.

WIth the holiday season now past, it’s natural to look ahead to the upcoming year. Oftentimes, the holidays are a vehicle for excess- too many social events with too much food and a flurry of gifts passing between people and everyone they’ve ever met. The over indulgence can leave us with post- holiday deflation (excepting our waistlines, usually). The practice of New Year’s resolutions is a way of clearing the slate- starting fresh with big plans for how this year will be different. This year, it’ll be a daily gym routine, no gossiping, volunteering, adopting a vegan diet, giving up tv, visiting the in-laws every day, and keeping the sock drawer organized.

This year instead of making a transformational leap- make 2013 the year of small changes. We can set ourselves up for failure by trying to run before we can walk. Small, consistent changes that can be sustained over the long haul are more valuable than a short burst of change that quickly fades into the old routine. A friend of mine lent me a book titled “Seven: How many days of the week can be Extraordinary” (by Zadra and Yarnada), recently. One of the exercises in the book consists of listing the things in the reader’s life that can be eliminated this week to make room for the important things. Reflect on your life- is there any drain on your daily life that you could do without? Consider reducing a bad habit by five minutes a day and replacing it with something positive. Five minutes a day is easy-peasy. Consider a change you’d like to make, for example, increasing physical activity. Instead of committing to an intensive routine, try to find five minutes of physical activity to build into the day. Walk to the mailbox instead of stopping  on the way home from work, or find excuses to leave the office during the day. Want to make a positive difference in the world? Bring in your neighbours trash cans, check out Chilliwack Community Services website (www.comserv.bc.ca/) for volunteer opportunities and spend an hour a week delivering meals on wheels or helping an adult learn to read. Then next week, find another small change to add to your daily or weekly routine.

In Scotland there’s a saying- many mites make a mickle, or lots of littles makes a big. This year, think little and make it the year of focusing on the small consistent changes that lead to maintainable improvement. The best to you and yours in 2013!

 

Marie Amos, MA, RCC, is a Mental Health Therapist with Child and Youth Mental Health of MCFD, Chilliwack.

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