Although a distinction might feel/sound unnecessary, there truly is a difference — in both how you feel, AND, perhaps in what you actually do…
Consider this activity: jot down two or three RESOLUTIONS. STOP. Read them aloud to yourself and see what and how you feel. Motivated or a bit over-whelmed? Maybe doubtful? Maybe both? See if writing and reading in fact brings up all the times you’ve perhaps identified the same or at least similar resolutions for the new year and found that around mid February they were no longer even a faint shadow in your thoughts, let alone showing up in your behavior.
Now just do some reflecting. What does that mean? Reflective sentences start something like this:
- I’ve been wondering about ________ you fill in the blank.
- Considering how the last year has gone, I’m thinking I’ll explore ________
- If I could change 1 to 5 things in the coming months, I think they would be _________.
- Imagining my best new direction makes me think of_______
- Knowing that change can be hard and that I truly am ready, I want to explore ___________.
These are simply suggestions. Hopefully the distinctions are at least somewhat helpful, perhaps obvious? The thoughts that are deeper inside you, more representative of what’s important to you come to the surface when reflecting…. vs identifying a “hard statement” of what YOU WILL DO TO BE A BETTER PERSON. That kind of thinking sets off — at least for many of us — a bit of our rebellious side…
For example, if the resolution is to lose 10 pounds, you might be able to identify a “voice” in your head saying things like: Ya, Right. I’m not giving up the foods that I really like!” Or “when was the last time you were successful at weight loss?”
By contrast, reflecting on losing 10 pounds typically produces images and thoughts that are positive….seeing yourself looking really good, imagining feeling better with a few pounds of pressure off your knees!! Seriously. Try the suggested approach and explore if there’s a difference or not. If not, then just try sticking with it for a few more efforts over the next few days.
WRITE daily about things you’d like to do in “reflective language” …. “when I contemplate taking a vacation this year, I think about and see _______.” “Visualizing myself getting up early enough to exercise feels _____”. This is not about revolutionary alterations in behavior….rather about subtle shifts in the way you think about what you desire/genuinely hope to accomplish….absent the pressure of it…
Then do something to build in your desired change around something you already automatically DO….like brush your teeth, take a shower. Most people do those things quite automatically. Here’s how it might work….Let’s imagine you’ve been wondering about doing daily meditation. What you can TRY is building the practice in to follow the two or three things that are automatic in your morning routine. In other words, as soon as I shower, I’ll sit down to meditate. If it sounds like tricking yourself, it might just be something that works well enough until it becomes a habit born from a reflection vs a hard and fast resolution that you MUST MEDITATE!
MOST OF US have things we want to change in order to feel better….about ourselves, our lives. And most of us are able to make some healthy changes once we get started. Here’s one thing I do….I typically (almost always) exercise before I eat anything. AND that choice also allows a bit of mini fasting when I am choosing to do that….that just means the later I exercise, the later I eat, extending the mini fasting time. So one good habit builds on another.
These are primarily suggestions for self care…because I believe each of us deserves to feel better…through healthy positive changes. So experiment a little. And if you have questions, you can always contact me through my website.