Every year around December we all start thinking about the New Year’s Resolutions we will be making on January 1st. At the top of the list are dieting, exercising, quitting smoking and organizing. Then we also remember the resolutions we didn’t keep: Dieting, exercising, quitting smoking and organizing. Every year we get another chance and most importantly we can postpone the latest version of our transformation until the actual New Year - usually about a month away. Don’t we all realize by now that we won’t keep these resolutions either?

The analogy comes to mind that so many diet books have lined the shelves throughout the years, yet Americans, both adults and children, are more obese than ever. Deprivation never works. We all want a quick fix, an easy tip, a genie in a bottle - in short immediate gratification. Making New Year’s Resolutions fits this easy mindset.

Why do we then make promises we don’t keep and why can’t we keep them?

  • We set too many lofty goals. Besides, who can deal with a long to do list?
  • We give our goals a time limit. This time frame contributes pressure and anxiety, so we avoid initiation. After all, if I don’t try, I can’t fail!
  • Most resolutions are about discovering why we act the way we do; according to Carl Jung the hardest person to confront is the self.
  • Most resolutions relate to our personal needs and usually we take care of others first and don’t make time for ourselves.
  • We think in terms of a rigid plan and if an obstacle comes our way, we can’t change our initial plan and regroup; we just give up.

Therefore let us resolve not to make any New Year’s Resolutions for 2004. Instead this minute, (don’t wait for January 1st), let us change our perception from a negative to a positive. Stress is the root of all evil in our lives. Stress robs us of health and happiness. However, stress is inevitable as it is enmeshed with living. We need to put our mind and body into de-stressing. Imagine putting oil all over your body and letting the stress just slide off… Realistically, some major stressors in our lives are too overwhelming to slide off: like loss of a loved one, a house, a job… However, we can eliminate the little stressors in our lives and interestingly enough, the little stressors do the most damage!

We need to find our own delicate balance about ridding ourselves of stress. Everyone has a personal, private and effective method. The key is motivation here and now not tomorrow. Let us make it easy on ourselves to shed stress in an easy, liquid way. Cut the shackles that bind us to doubt, negativity and perfection. Emerge into the company of positive people, positive writing and positive thinking. Here are some suggestions to help:

  • Feel intuitive and act on your feelings. Feelings are more honest than thoughts.
  • Live outside the box; come out of the cocoon. Cultivate and express your creativity. Rejoice in it.
  • Live your authentic life even if you are a caregiver. Everyone has a right to live.
  • Reinterpret a negative to a positive with compassion and love. Who knows what the truth is anyway. Feel free to use humor to reinterpret your life as a sitcom. Laughter is still the best medicine.
  • Honor your physical being - exercise away stress and eat balanced meals. No deprivation, please! Forbidden foods caused us to be evicted from Paradise in the first place. Adam and Eve did a lot of walking in and out of Eden.

All these suggestions can be summed up as: Establish a balance between giving and receiving - physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. No more lists, guilt driven promises to change, or over-thinking the obvious. Simply, see yourself as happy and new. Begin with this beautiful visual affirmation of yourself. You are continuously being reborn to new possibilities - not just once a year. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back - regularly.

Author's Bio: 

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com