Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where to begin?

Sitting here on New Years Eve around 5:30 p.m., I'm caught up in my own thinking over the changes we're about to begin. I know why they call them baby steps--our first efforts are sure to be as shakey and unstable as those of a toddler first venturing out into the world. Still, those first steps can be equally exhilarating and refreshing, each one an opportunity to explore something new.

One of my first steps was to share this blog with Chris (he didn't know yet I had created it), and he was amused as he read and listened to me talking it through (he's an incredibly patient listener). He's agreed to try, agreed to write a bit himself (yeah!), and now all that's left is to figure out where to begin.

A writer's for Oprah penned an article about the difficulty of change, and she wrote: "So instead of waking up New Year's morning and saying, "I'm going to do X now," then berating yourself a month later when that resolution didn't work, remember: You're doing nothing less than rewiring your brain. Approach change as if you're learning a new language or a new instrument. Obviously, you're not going to be fluent or play symphonies instantly; you'll need constant focus and practice. Overcoming an unhealthy habit involves changing the behaviors associated with it and managing stress, because stressing about change (or anything else) will knock you off the wagon faster than you realize. Above all, get that dopamine system going: Find rewards—make them instant, and don't be stingy. Your brain needs them. And I promise (well, Volkow, Schlund, Wexler, and Fleshner promise) it gets easier. That's not a bunch of self-help nonsense. It's biology." Read more:

So, change doesn't happen by simply deciding that you want things to be different, nor does it happen by simply cutting "bad habits" our of your life. It happens when there is consistent, concerted effort behind it, when the goals are real and solid and measurable, when we find a way to feel a reward or a payoff instantly, when we provide ourselves the necessary resources, and when replace the bad habits with positive ones that fuel that feeling of a reward or a payoff.

See, that wasn't so hard, was it? (Whew!)

I already know my goals are to be healthier and wealthier by this time next year, but what does that mean? How do I define "healthy"? How do I define "wealthier"? By many definitions already in existence, I am already both of these.

So, to make this work, I need to decide my working definitions and I also need to decide what steps I'll take to make this work. Some consult with the hubby is needed, and I'll report back.

Until then, New Years blessings to one and all.


1 comment:

  1. Have you read "The Happiness Project?" I read it around January 2010, and 2010 was my most successful resolution year ever! Lost the weight I wanted to lose, became a vegetarian, took off and saw the world...

    I think the practical suggestions and thoughts in the book really helped me approach change much like Oprah's writer suggests. I'm thinking about re-reading it in 2012 as a reminder of the ways I can make myself happy in 2012.