The Key to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

 
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Dear Jane,
I want to make some New Year’s resolutions but I don’t want to set myself up for failure, which I’ve done in the past. How can I make sure that I succeed this time?

Most of us use New Year’s resolutions as a way to try to boost our self-esteem. We think that if we lose weight, exercise, or pay off our credit card debt, we’ll feel better about ourselves. This seems logical but it’s actually backwards thinking. Why?

Most of us don’t believe that we are worthy of treating ourselves better. That’s why we start and then drop so many of our resolutions. After all, if we believed we were truly worthy, we’d already be doing these things on our list, right? If this rings true for you, then your first step is to practice affirming your worthiness on a daily basis.

If you like freshly roasted coffee, treat yourself. If you have socks with holes in them, throw them out. Clean out your closet of clothes that no longer fit or that don’t make you feel attractive. Wash your car if that makes you feel better about yourself. Eat foods that are both healthy and delicious. If you don’t like the picture on your driver’s license, go to the DMV looking just the way you’d like and get a new picture taken. You don’t have to wait until your license is expiring. Don’t start the New Year depriving yourself. Let go of anything and everything that doesn’t bolster your worthiness. In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I write that changing, even tweaking, behaviors is a great way to change your mind and begin thriving.

When you feel better about yourself because you’ve been treating yourself with more respect and compassion, you’re ready (and more trustworthy) to make a list of New Year’s resolutions. My recommendation is to start with only one resolution at a time and focus on that. Here’s why: In Enough Is Enough!, I write about choosing to live in Classroom Earth vs. Courtroom Earth. In Courtroom Earth, we are our own judge, jury, and executioner. We are our own worst adversary, finding ourselves guilty for every infraction of our self-imposed laws. Courtroom Earth doesn’t affirm your worthiness. So get out of the courtroom and walk into Classroom Earth. Here is where you get to learn, practice, make mistakes, and try again, reinforcing, not undermining, your self-esteem and worthiness.

When you’ve committed to one new activity or behavior long enough, it will become a habit. You will be able to stick to an exercise regimen, lose weight, learn that foreign language, pay off your credit card debt, or keep any New Year’s resolution by treating yourself as the worthy being you are.

And speaking of worthiness, our neighbors in New Orleans, still suffering from the aftermath of Katrina and from governmental neglect, are grateful for everything we, as individuals, do for them. My visit there to help, which was just as much a gift to me, gave me some ideas and contacts:

*Kim Nance at James Weldon Johnson Elementary School could use the support of mental health professionals and health professionals: (504) 861-7718. The children, many of them living with strangers, neighbors, or distant relatives are suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression as are their caregivers. Also, the school could really use textbooks.

*Acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists—just show up. The word will spread quickly that you’re there and are offering services.

*Ask one of your local schools to become a “sister school.”

*Buy your holiday gifts from local merchants. Many of them have Web sites. Janet’s jewelry store is Mon Coeur: www.moncoeurneworleans.com. Janet gives a tremendous amount to the community through her business, so your support helps many others get back on their feet. Besides, her jewelry is beautiful.

*Support Habitat for Humanity, which is helping to build a lovely enclave for displaced musicians.

*Bring your children there so they have an opportunity to pitch in.

*Regardless of your religious beliefs, support the church organizations still handing out food and providing shelter.

*Send this blog to everyone on your e-mail list. There is such power in numbers.

Our politics and opinions about the city’s future don’t matter. What matters is the care of each other’s hearts and spirits and that is easier to provide than what we have been taught to believe. This was my lesson from New Orleans. I’m going back. Care to join me?

ANNOUNCEMENT

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

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