Monday, January 26, 2015

A New Year. Really?


New year's resolutions. New eating plans. New goals and objectives. New rules. New gym membership. New morning routine. New attitude. New job. New enthusiasm. New relationship. A new start! Or is it?

Whether we realize or not, the new year always brings about a shift in our perspective. And it's simply due to one fact: a calendar date.

Does the universe really know what day, month, or year it is? As human beings, we are inherently "chronologically impaired": we rely on the clock and calendar to organize our lives. But time is just an illusion created (by us) in order to understand where we relate in the scheme of things. It's only our concept of time that is real.

Our perception is our reality—and we are creating our reality each moment, regardless of "what time it is."

So what does this have to do with the new year? Everything. The new year is the illusion. The choice to make changes is the reality. Sure, the new year is a trigger for change, but you can change at any time. Why wait until January 1st?

Creating change in your life may be simple, but not easy. Creating healthy habits takes effort and with change comes loss. We grieve old patterns (even if they're unhealthy), and creating new habits takes dedication and commitment. Nothing substantial happens overnight. But change is possible, and you can start whenever you want.

Here's a few tips for developing healthy habits that will stick:
  • Change one thing at a time. Pick something you'd like to change. See how it works. Course correct, if needed. Choose again, but don't go back to old habits. For example, instead of reaching for soda, try a vitamin drink, low sugar juice or flavored sparkling water. If you don't like your choice, choose something else, but don't go back to soda. Think forward.
  • Ease into your exercise routine. Just because you jogged 3 miles or took the 1-hour Zumba class in the past doesn't mean you can jump right back into your old routine overnight. Build back slowly. Be patient. Allow your body to readjust. If you push too hard, you will pay. Pain is not a sign that you're doing it right.
  • Consciously choose your food. Stop the autopilot. Think before you bite. Look at labels. Watch portion size (most portions at restaurants are double or triple the size of what you really need). Save dessert for special occasions. Getting through your week is usually not a special occasion.
  • Get the right tools before you begin. To do anything right you need the right support. For example, if you've been meaning to re-organize the hall closet, open it up and do a quick assessment of what is needed to do the job right (i.e., buy some new shelving, shoe rack, bins, etc.) before you start cleaning. A few minutes of planning can save you hours of extra work.
  • Avoid projecting. When we think outside of ourselves, we project. For example, what do I look like as I'm doing (this)? What do others think of me? What are other people doing that I'm not doing? Why can't I (look, talk, act, be...) like them? Focus only on yourself. This is about you.
  • Support yourself. Make a commitment to do your best, believe you are doing your best, and then do your best at whatever it is you are desiring to change. And if you fall off the wagon, get back on. Don't give up. Believe in yourself. Respect the process. And don't blame anyone else for your results. Own it. Do it. Create the change for yourself.
Remember: it doesn't take New Year's Eve to create changes in your life. Decide what areas of your life need new direction and try something new. What's the worst case scenario? You learn! The most important thing is that you tried. In the words of Wayne Gretsky, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Take a shot, and go for the goal. 

To Your Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Bring in the new year by returning to the natural balance within you. Need a bit of motivation? Pick up a copy of 21 Days to Better Balance, or another book in the series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com