7 Changes to Make This Year
1) Relax about your relationships.
Not all relationships require analysis. If it works, don’t fix it. When problems arise, speak up and admit them. If they are solvable and/or of true importance, come up with solutions and act on them. If not, emulate the “Scarlett O’Hara School of Crisis Management” and “think about it tomorrow,” or drop it altogether. In healthy relationships, at least one of the participants is good at differentiating little from big,
2) Become more loveable.
Cease criticizing or looking for the bad or wrong in people. Try these behaviors instead:
- Say five positives for every negative to yourself and others.
- Hug at least once a day (your body needs touching).
- Kiss for at least ten seconds – pecks are for acquaintances.
- Laugh easily – it is a contagious habit and flattering and fun.
- Learn how you want to receive love and ask for it. You are making yourself easier to please.
Also, discover what means the most to the ones around you and give what they need – this is a very efficient delivery system.
3) Either finish your to-do list or shred it.
Procrastination is burdensome and takes its toll psychologically. It can make you feel less worthy and deplete your energy. Do what needs to be done, take it off your list, or at least get started. De-cluttering what you keep on your mind can release a feeling of freedom and contribute to being more (not less) responsible and productive.
4) Curb your anger.
Anger is toxic and expressing fury is unhealthy and self-indulgent. It can be used as justification for an 11:30pm blowup in the name of not going to bed angry. Sometimes the best thing to do with your wrath is give it a nap. Tiredness exacerbates perceived difficulties and gets in the way of a sensible resolution. In thirty years of experience as a therapist, I’ve yet to meet the couple that had a knockdown fight at 8am. If you have a hair-trigger temper, repair it because ultimately you are pulling the trigger on yourself. Your words can be forgiven, but may be impossible to forget.
5) Achieve peace of mind.
Harried is not sexy and it’s not healthy. A relaxed attitude is attractive and also sends a clear message that you have time for love in your life. Schedule time for personal, educational, and spiritual development as well as periods of daily R&R, and believe you are worth it. Learn to read or listen to a book, be silent, truly listen, de-clutter both emotionally and physically, get the unpleasant necessities out of the way cheerfully, and know when to surrender our illusion of control.
6) Improve your appearance.
A good self-maintenance plan boosts self-confidence, helps your mood, and helps keep your focus on tasks and people, rather than self-consciousness. Hygiene, manner of dress, and overall presentation have more to do with personal and professional attractiveness, and draw, than any individual physical feature. Most of my clients and students don’t write down “gorgeous” on their Spouse Shopping List, but what they do want is someone who makes effort, is presentable, and smells good versus one who is sloppy, slouchy, and less than squeaky clean. They basically want a mate who can go anywhere and who doesn’t have bad breath so that they will want to see a smile, kiss a face, and feel safe when he/she exhales near their friends. In a crowd of those in their twenties through forties, a low-consciousness appearance may just be viewed as an individualist. But for those in their forties and older, they are more likely to be viewed as anti-social or a chronic underachiever.
7) Take a real look at your schedule.
Start now to make time your ally, not your master. Decide whom you want to spend time with and what you wish to accomplish. Draw a line under what is simply obligatory. But within that time frame, decide what you can do to make your must-dos the most lovable, or at least palatable. Figure out a way to lessen time spent in ways you don’t relish, or simply remove it from your calendar. Just because it’s what you or your family has always done doesn’t mean it needs to be your future. Whatever you do that makes you deeply happy, do as much of it as you can. Leave the rest alone.
If you try any or all of these positive changes, mark your progress every evening. Compliment yourself verbally and write down every improvement no matter how small. Say what you appreciate, and everything and everyone you love. Write what touched you most and repeat it often. It’s important to write (as well as tell yourself) and others because from year-to-year, neither you nor others will remember what was said.