We have all made them..those promises to ourselves that we will make a difference in our lives starting in the New Year! We make them with the best of intentions and often, well maybe sometimes, see some success with those promises for the first week or two in January. But..then something happens…seemingly without intent or effort on your part…you return to old patterns…sometimes slowly and sometimes with one big “I GIVE UP!”. But, however it happens, by the middle of February (I know..for some of you January 2:) most, if not all, of those best of intentions New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory.
You are not alone—just look on Kijji at the end February to see how many people are trying to sell barely used gym memberships, hardly used fitness equipment or to see the increased population of the various smoking areas. Change is hard—and wanting it is not enough to make it so for most of us.
We need to change our thoughts and our feelings before we can change our actions…and that is a bit more work and takes some insight.
When we make our New Year’s resolutions, we think we have changed our thoughts and feelings…and we certainly have the desire to make the changes…but when the energy of the first little while dwindles, we start to return back to old thoughts and feelings..”just one bite won’t hurt, I am too tired to exercise today, I’ll do extra tomorrow, Just one cigarette won’t hurt me, I have had a hard day today I deserve that treat, that cigarette, to relax all evening watching Netflix”.
So—what do we do if we really want to make long lasting changes in our lives?
We need to do some planning and thinking about what changes we want to make, and give some thoughts to the thoughts and feelings that we want to change and why. Journalling or visualizing the change we want can help us start to create a new narrative about ourselves that includes the changed thoughts, feelings and actions.
Sharing your plans with someone you trust can help you formulate that plan in more detail and support the changes you want to make.
Planning out the journey from where you are now to where you want to be, can help you see what the steps will be and what needs to happen in what sequence. Planned change includes being mindful of obstacles and what to do about them as well as being realistic about how long it will take to make lasting change. We need to be kind to ourselves as we embark on change.
We will be offering a workshop on Thursday February 22, 2018 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. to help visualize and plan your change journey. It will be a three hour workshop that will focus on thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are working for you and that you would like to change. It will be hands on workshop and you will leave with a vision board to continue your work after the workshop. All supplies will be included.
For further information or to register you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (613) 435-2729.
There are a limited number of spots available so register soon!
-Written by Karen Moore MA, RSW Registered Social Worker