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1/15/17blog post

7 small changes you can make for the new year

It’s only a few weeks into 2017, but you’ve already come to an uncomfortable and familiar realization. New Year’s resolutions result in more guilt and depression than achievement.Resolutions Drawing 2017 on Blackboard

Forget about the big aspirations for a transformational do-over. They don’t work. How about making some small changes today that eventually can have a big impact in your life? Consider these.

1. Weekly date night with your spouse. I learned this from my parents. They had very little money, but every Wednesday would leave without the kids for a few hours. They would “window shop” and eat at a nearby restaurant. This sent a powerful message to me about what was truly important about relationships.

2. Power down, just a bit. Try establishing a certain time of the day when you are not connected to your phone or computer. Cut the electronic umbilical cord every night at 9:00 pm to focus on other things that matter.

3. Exercise. This is the source of most failed resolutions. Many of us set unachievable goals. Instead, go for a brief walk around your workplace after lunch or around the block after dinner. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished with these small steps. Don’t lament the elaborate workouts that you didn’t achieve.

4. Lighten-up. Many parents are too negative with their kids about things that don’t matter. Stop criticizing your youngsters about minor things. Pick one item (clean room, clothes, choice in music, etc.) and just stop complaining about it!

5. Let-go. The world is unfair. You’ve been deeply hurt by people, perhaps family or colleagues at work. Perhaps you’ve not had the opportunities of more privileged families. Stop thinking and talking about it. Your resentment about past events only causes you more pain. Don’t bring it up with anyone ever again. Never.

6. Sense of gratitude. Happy people appreciate the many good things that happen to them, rather than whine about how the world is not the way they’d like it to be. Try this. Set a certain time of each day to think about a few good things that happened the previous day. You might do this in the car while on your way to work or while doing errands.

Don’t tell me you can’t find three good things. They occur daily to you. The problem is that you are not noticing and appreciating them.

7. Sleep more. You are a better person and parent when you get more sleep. Stop making excuses. Forget about trying to get an extra hour of sleep every day. Aim for 10 more minutes a night.

Aim high, but start low. You can change your life today.