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Visions for the New Year

Posted December 31, 2017 by Tresa Clemmensen M.SC. CCC

Embrace Vulnerability Well, it is that time of year again when we get bombarded by messages from every company on how to become our best selves for the upcoming year. Often these messages are revolved around choosing resolutions around eating and exercise habits and the latest fad/diet/gimmick to help us adopt these resolutions. These are marketed as healthy, but are typically not healthy, not sustainable, and not helpful and only benefit these companies bank account.

Despite your temptation to jump on this train that everyone else seems to get caught up in at this time of year, I would encourage you to refrain from making lofty resolutions and often times, unhelpful resolutions that typically only make us feel like we have failed. If you want to make some positive changes in your life, great, but taking the time to decide what that looks like for you and how the changes can become sustainable is key. Just because the gym around the corner now has an offer of buy one month and get one month free, does not mean you have to do that if you do not enjoy going to the gym. There are many ways to engage in active living that does not include going to a gym. There is nothing wrong with going to a gym, if that is what you enjoy, but it is reminding yourself that there are many ways to get active and finding something that you enjoy and feels good to you, is what is most important and becomes most sustainable.

Yes, it is a New Year but what does that really mean? Every day is a new day and every day you get to make a choice on how you are going to choose to live and what practices you are going to engage in that creates the most meaning in your life. What do you want your life to be about? Amy Purdy has an excellent Tedtalk titled Living Beyond limits and in that Tedtalk she poses what I think can be a life defining question “If your life were a book and you were the author, how would you like your story to go?” You are the author of your story book called life. Create a vision for yourself of what you want your life to look like and start making daily choices to reflect that vision.

There are different ways to help you develop your vision. Journaling to the above question can give you direction of what would be meaningful to you. Another option can be to complete a values exercise to determine what is important to you. These values exercises can be found in any Acceptance and Commitment Therapy book. Creating a values/vision board to be able to look at daily can help you to stay focused on what is important to you.

Making doable, incremental changes that become the way you live is ideal, rather than setting unrealistic resolutions that you know can only last a short period of time. Ask yourself what your intention is in making a change? Understanding what is motivating you to make this change can help you decide if this is a goal that you want to pursue that reflects your values and life direction. Or is it a goal that you feel you have to make due to the pressures of getting on the same New Years Resolutions train that everyone else is on. Of course, we all know where that train leads to 99 percent of the time….back to making the same New Years Resolutions next year! Choose something different this year….Choose value based living that is meaningful to you.