New Year’s Resolutions vs. Real Transformation

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. I already spend enough time feeling disappointed in myself, I don’t need to start each year by setting myself up for failure again.

It’s taken a little over 40 years, but I’m starting to learn a few things about how to create real transformation in my life.

Sometimes transforming ourselves is the only way to become who we really are

It doesn’t work to try to stop behaviors, especially by using guilt or shame. Instead, I’m trying to focus on the adopting new behaviors and finding ways to make them as pleasurable as possible.

It’s hard for me to stick with an exercise regimen. I’ve tried gym memberships, exercise classes, and martial arts, which all worked for awhile, but the one thing that’s working for me now is wearing a pedometer. I got a Fitbit, and besides tracking my steps, it shows me how many steps my friends have taken. I’m rather competitive, so if I see that I’m only a hundred steps behind one of my friends, I’ll purposely walk an extra hundred steps, even if it’s just in circles. I like at the end of the day that I get “credit” and visibility for my workouts.

I still eat way too much sugar and low-density carbs (mostly pastries), but I’m trying to also eat as many vegetables and drink as much water as I can. Over time, I’m hoping that the healthy food I eat will outweigh the junk food.

Cutting tasks down to size makes them easier to achieve. I love reading novels, and I hope one day to write one. I’ve started story after story only to get frustrated and quit. So, just recently, I’ve started writing short short stories, only about 3 pages or so, and building up my confidence that I can in fact tell stories, I just need to start small.

Getting a buddy to do the new behavior also helps a lot. My friend and I have started taking our younger kids for walks while our older kids are in their martial arts class. We both get to exercise and socialize at the same time.

Visualizing your future self can be a motivator. I picture myself happy, healthy, and laughing with my grandchildren some day. I know that if I don’t value and take care of myself today, I may not be around to meet them. Investing in my health and wellbeing pays off in my children’s and my grandchildren’s lives too.

Every now and then, look back at how far you’ve come. Reflect on how much you’ve learned and grown. Look at the wonderful people you’ve surrounded yourself with. Sometimes being able to transform yourself is to remember that you’ve already done it many times.

Embrace every attempt at transformation with gratitude. Whatever happened during the day, whether you did a great job or continued some behaviors you’d prefer to let go of, be grateful for your life and all the blessings in it. Maybe you ate too much junk food, but maybe you also smiled at a stranger.

What do you do to make long-lasting change in your life?

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9 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions vs. Real Transformation

  1. mary brown January 1, 2014 at 7:44 am Reply

    I don’t like to impact other peoples lives, therefore I feel very discouraged when. Something I do or a decision I make causes a change or inconvenience for some one else. My thoughts for the New year will be to not be afraid to talk about my fear of doing the wrong thing and just live life. I also recently realized I don’t know how to have fun…so will focus on that as well.

    • Frankie Laursen January 1, 2014 at 7:50 am Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment. I think we impact other people’s lives all the time, even if it’s just by our example. Even if you temporarily inconvenience someone, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We all learn from each other, and it helps us grow. When I feel inconvenienced, it’s often because I’m being perfectionist, and I get an opportunity to remind myself to just relax.

      Having fun is a great idea. In my dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), one of the skills we learned and practiced was scheduling Pleasurable Activities. It’s important to schedule them, otherwise days and even weeks go by without doing any.

      I think it’s good to remember that you do impact other people’s lives, be mindful about your intentions, and then graciously accept whatever happens.

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  3. Daisy January 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm Reply

    I don’t set new year’s resolutions either. I was always really disappointed in myself. Partly because my health wasn’t what it should be (according to others) and I had a severe anxiety disorder. Somehow because nobody seemed to be able to help me I decided to help myself. I changed the way I thought about myself and my situation and started to do what I thought was right for me and works for me, instead of what everybody else thought was right for me (which only made me more anxious).

    Concrete things I’ve adopted are: a healthier diet (over a year ago), starting a blog and giving myself a small photography project (just recently).

    The points you wrote are very similar to what I use to stimulate myself. I love how you put everything together. I hope you will achieve (part of) your goals in 2014 🙂

    • Frankie Laursen January 1, 2014 at 8:02 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment. I just read your Hypermobility syndrome blog post (http://tinyurl.com/lj9fjmb), and I am in awe of how you took charge of your own treatment when no one would help you. That is awesome.

      I hope 2014 helps you stay healthy, and have your blog and photography flourish!

      • Daisy January 2, 2014 at 2:43 am

        Thank you for visiting my blog. I really appreciate your sincere comments and kind wishes!

  4. Hazel January 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm Reply

    I also appreciate your wise words to me when I asked how you have time to do so much. You said that you do what you like. 🙂 So that is my resolution for this year… do more of what I like!

    • Frankie Laursen January 1, 2014 at 8:03 pm Reply

      Did I really? I don’t remember that, but I believe you. I have a really hard time with this one, but I think it also helps to make a point of putting some things off so that you have time to do things you really truly enjoy. It might be for just a few hours, but sometimes the laundry and the dishes can wait.

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