Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bring On the New Year!

We all look at a new year a little differently. Many people focus on the things in their lives they are resolving to change while simultaneously shutting the books on the past year (good or bad) and looking to improve in the coming year.
I thought about resolutions this year too, but I am going to approach them a little bit differently. Resolutions usually involve changing something about your life you need to change for the better and/or adding something to your life that will make it better (they are always for the better). Instead of just resolving to do whatever it was I felt needed changing, I decided to make new routines.
You see, we get in these ruts in life that we get so caught up in. Our lives become a series of routines. If you question that, pay close attention to your daily wake up process for a week and just try to do something out of order. It's tough to do. The daily grind just ruins us and our outlook and we can't wait for bad days to be over and it seems like good days are often overshadowed by the "have tos". That's not much of a life and so I feel that to make a true change I need a new routine. A new approach to life in general and not just a good intention and thought.
If you look at your life and the routines you are in, you may find some very interesting things out about yourself. I guarantee you that you will ask yourself, "How in the world did this happen?" once you start that evaluation. The good news is, you can act right now. Check some easy points to remember:
1 - You can start now. Don't say "I need to". Just do it. Find something fun or needed you want to add to your life on a regular basis that you know would make your days better.
2 - Set reasonable goals. Don't get crazy. This new routine is not about a total transformation all at once. You could throw the whole world off its axis and never get it back right if you do. Find some small thing, track it for a few weeks to check on how you are doing and the next thing you's in your routine making you better.
3 - Set specifics. Don't just say, "I'm going to exercise more". Say, "On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I'm going to devote 20-30 minutes for exercise starting at 6PM". You see the difference? You're making a date with yourself and I dare say, you won't stand yourself up unless something pretty important comes up.
4 - Evaluate. Just because you do something for two days does not mean you are now in a new routine. Just like the two biggest resolutions people make about diet and exercise, you won't make any changes unless you make it a part of your daily self. The only way to do that is evaluate how you did on each day, week, and then month, and so on. Think of it this way: people who are stopping a bad health habit track their days since they last had any issues with whatever it is. They celebrate their accomplishment regularly but they realize that days add to weeks and weeks to months and months to years. They evaluate every single day, which in itself is part of their new routine.
5 - Don't be too hard on yourself. New things take time to settle in. If you blow a date with yourself to do something you are trying to make part of your routine, don't dwell on it. That's why there are 7 days in every week. There is always tomorrow or the next date. Some days need rain checks. However, as you evaluate, be sure it's a rain check and not complacency you are falling into.
6 - Share your goals carefully. We have many people in our lives and if they are close to us they look our for us like we do for them. Unfortunately, that sense of care can be one of the biggest roadblocks you will face as you move to make your new routine. Some of your closest companions might say, "You don't need to do that, you're awesome just as you are" or "Why would you waste your time doing that?" Do your best to take all those things that are said and move forward regardless. These are YOUR goals and routines. No one can live them for you and these are very personal. You can share your proposed changes with others (and in some cases it might even be necessary to keep you on track until it becomes part of your routine) but be careful who you share with and if the negative comes...move forward.
I look forward to the days to come. One big routine addition I am making is that I want there to be an element of fun in everything I do. The great thing is that it's not that hard to do. You just have to think about what might make this process, or job, or moment a little different or quirky and approach it that way. Make it interesting and the fun will come. Mix it up a little and you'll find that even the so called "bad days" will have  lots of good in them.

To finish off, here's some inspiration to get your blood pumping: