As the new year is upon us, what resolutions have you made? Often our resolutions focus on lifestyle, physical or spiritual health, or relationships with family and friends. We want to be a better person and improve our lives. Maybe your resolution is not to create a new activity, but to eliminate a negative one. For example, you may spend too much time on social media and resolve to limit your screen time. Unfortunately, our efforts often only last a few weeks or maybe a few months, and we have a hard time sustaining changes for the long term. Occasionally we set unrealistic expectations or seek too much change too quickly. Othertimes we are motivated primarily by fear or guilt which doesn't produce sustainable behavioral changes. But if self-respect and self-love are our primary motivators and change isn't just for someone else, success is more likely. It also helps to have a support system, encouraging people, and a game plan that allows for measurable progress. Making changes is never easy but setting up a reward system for small changes along the way can provide additional motivation. What needs to change in your life to make it better?
Sometimes our resolutions have less to do with changing our individual behaviors and more to do with working through conflict with others. Everyone has conflict in their life whether it remains internal or external. Those who prefer to avoid conflict and fear the outcome from confronting conflict tend to internalize it. They may lack the skills or anticipate a bad outcome. Sometimes growing up with family conflict influences our decision to confront or avoid it. However, we can choose to work through conflict by expressing it directly and respectfully. Upon sharing our feelings we can then choose to forgive and let go of emotional pain and hurt feelings. Resolutions come from conversation and mutual respect, but there also needs to be a commitment to change. Ultimately we have a choice to either hang onto conflict or release it. Letting go of emotional pain can be even harder than making behavioral changes.
When we decide to make a change it's so important to be intentional and specific about how we will do things differently. Some people talk a good game and say they will commit to change, but have little follow through. I have found that if I tell others of my resolution, I feel more compelled and more committed to follow through. Challenge yourself to make a positive change in your life. Whether you are adding an activity or letting go of a conflict, choose to be a better person. When we commit to change and achieve our goals it creates greater self-confidence and self-respect. We need to walk the talk and stretch ourselves to accomplish great things. Decide today to make a commitment to yourself and reap the benefits of positive change.