Tag Archives: Change

School Year’s Resolutions

Labor Day is over; the unofficial end to summer. Another school year has begun. We have new school supplies, new back packs, new shoes and new attitudes. “This year I will get my kids to school on time every single day.” “This year I will always make my son a healthy lunch – no more school lunches.”

I have always thought that New Year’s Resolutions made more sense in the fall. I’ve spent the majority of my life tied to the school year so I guess I’m programmed to think of fall as a time of new beginnings. Do you have resolutions this fall? What are you trying to do differently? What projects are you trying to get done? And what has stopped you from accomplishing it thus far?

There are lots of things that stop us from achieving our goals. Here are few of them:

1. Unrealistic Expectations – You have a to-do list that is three pages long and includes things like “re-finish the kitchen cabinets, plant a garden, read to the children every night, establish a family game night, get more sleep, make my own baby food… If you are trying to (like Mary Poppins) be perfect in every way then you are setting yourself up for failure. Choose one thing to focus on at a time and then break it down into smaller steps.

2. You Don’t Believe You Can Do It - If you don’t believe it’s possible you will sabotage your success. It’s important to get your emotional mind on board. You have achieved many things in your lifetime that have required skills and talents. Inventory your strengths and put them to use.

3. There is Never Enough Time - It’s true. There is never enough time. There will never be enough time to do all the things you want to do. But there is enough time to do some of them. If you decide to make something a priority you will do it. The tough part is that many of us habitually put our own desires (and often our needs) at the bottom of the list.

4. You’re Overwhelmed at the Thought of Adding Something Else to Your Plate - This is a sign that self-care needs to move to the top of your list. That doesn’t mean you need to leave your family for a weekend at the spa (though go for it if you can manage it!). For busy mothers, self-care sometimes means spending 2 minutes by yourself in the bathroom. Savor that cup of coffee in the morning instead of gulping it down without even noticing it. Stop to enjoy the sun on your face for a moment. Go to bed 10 minutes earlier than you did last night.

I struggle with all these issues – sometimes all at once! But I know that change is possible and I know that goals can be achieved. One of my School Year’s Resolutions is to finally start an online support group for you folks. I’ve been thinking about it for 3 years – 3 years! Do you have any projects that have been on the back burner for that long? Or worse, has your own self-care been on the back burner for that long? Are you ready take action – even a teeny, tiny action that you’re sure no-one will notice? Join me and work together in accomplishing something – anything! Watch your email for more details coming soon!

First Published 2013

15 Nov 2013

Supporting Change

owlFall is here and school is in full swing. The new-school-year buzz has simmered down into daily routines. I have always loved back-to-school excitement. There is so much “newness”: new school clothes, new school supplies, new teachers and classrooms, new friends (and old friends too). There are also new expectations, new goals and new commitments. It is not surprising that fall is one of the busiest times for new clients coming into therapy. It is a time for self-assessment and a time to make change.

So, this has had me thinking about “change.” How do people do it? Why do they it? Why can change be so hard sometimes? We can all identify some behavior, habit, compulsion that we have repeatedly failed to change. Otherwise there would not be all those self-help books and diet plans on the market.

So, what’s a person to do? Is change a futile endeavor? Of course not. We know that change happens. Sometimes it’s even easy. But when it’s hard, what do you do?

Research indicates that one of the first things to do is to make sure you are positively motivated. We are often motivated by fear. We want to avoid something so we move in the opposite direction. The problem is that we can’t live in fear all the time. It creates too much anxiety. So we push it out of our minds along with the goal we were trying to reach. It’s better to move toward something we want rather than away from something we are trying to avoid.

It is also important that we get our emotions involved. A smoker knows all the rational reasons why he should quit. But he has a better chance of quitting if he focuses on how good he will feel when he can play tag with his kids without coughing.

And finally, lasting change requires support – as much as possible. Somebody else must absolutely believe that you can change and they must offer their encouragement and guidance to help you do it. In the absence of support it is easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged when facing obstacles.

So what changes are you trying to make right now? Are you motivated by fear or by joy? Are you emotionally invested in this change? Who is supporting you? If you are ready to take on a change-challenge, big or small, I’d love to hear about it!

First Published 2009

06 Nov 2013