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A Different Kind of New Year

It’s almost that time of year again – the New Year, resolution time, turning a new leaf, making those big changes…

I like to do things a little differently in January for one good reason: most of the time New Year’s Resolutions are hard to keep for very long. All those good intentions can quickly fall by the wayside unless you are extremely committed, motivated, and accountable. And since a lot of us struggle with that, I’d like to suggest an alternative for this coming year.

Instead of making big plans for yourself, not holding up your end of the bargain, and then beating yourself up over not keeping your resolutions (sound familiar?) how about focusing on celebrating what you are doing, what is working, and what you do do well?

Radical, right?

Imagine what would happen if you focused on and recorded all of the victories, successes and happy moments in your life for one year. Imagine how different 2018 would be than if you went with your inner critic’s usual suggestions of “Compare yourself to others!”, “Beat yourself up!”, and “Judge yourself harshly!” At the very least I think it's an interesting experiment - focusing on giving yourself credit and quieting the inner critic for one year.

Record your Successes, Victories, Accomplishments and Fun

It is important that you do actually write down your wins (pen and paper is best), otherwise you will have a tendency to dismiss them, minimize, them or shrug them off. How you record the good stuff is up to you, but I’ve got a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Find yourself a notebook, journal, or diary, and divide it into four sections: Successes, Victories, Accomplishments, and Fun. I like to put one in the front, one in the back, and two somewhere in the middle and then make little tabs for them.

  • Each time you succeed at something, write it down. Same goes for your victories and accomplishments. Also do it each time you really have a good time and a lot of fun.

  • Jot down a few words, once sentence, or write a little more.

  • Record the obvious - the big victories, the significant accomplishments, and exciting successes - but don't forget the the small victories. They can be just as important. For example, if I am able to walk for an hour one day instead of my usual 30-40 minutes, that goes in my victory list. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small thing, what matters is that it is meaningful to you.

  • If you’re not into journaling, grab a nice sized jar, jot your wins down on little pieces of paper, and put them in the jar.

Do keep your journal, notebook, or jar in an easily accessible and visible spot so you will remember to use it.

Before long you will have a record of what is going really well in your life. Read through your notebook (or go through your jar) every couple of months, or whenever you’re feeling low. Seeing this evidence that your life is actually pretty good (or not-so-bad) can be surprising, uplifting, and motivating.

It’s easier to remember the bad times than the good ones, and we often forget or don't pause to give ourselves credit and celebrate our successes. How about we do things a little differently in 2018?

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