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Your New Year’s Resolution for 2013

by B. Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist

Are you thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?  I noticed friends and colleagues posting their resolutions on a variety of Social Media platforms. Rather than construct a lengthy post about New Year’s resolutions and change and blah blah blah, I’d like to share with you my new, pithy motto about these commitments we make every year, and just a few words about how it works.

I didn’t learn to snowboard in one season, or one resolution. If you want lasting change, you must create a pathway of steps beyond an ideal commitment. Learn how with my pithy statement.

New Year’s Resolutions Do Not Work

Surprise!  New Year’s Resolutions take four attempts on average for people to complete.    The very nature of a resolution has change at the heart of it, and change is not the easiest concept for people to embrace unless you have a plan that allows you to encounter and engage the ensuing discomfort that comes with change.

I see this every year with people’s fitness and health goals. Starting January 2, the gym is filled with people you never see any other time of year. They are wearing new togs fresh from Christmas and end-of-year gifts. Their sneakers are squeaky and fresh; their socks are so white, having never seen a drop of bleach. They are enthusiastically bouncing up and down on treadmills (which I don’t recommend — bouncing, that is). And they are obediently following a trainer around the gym, lifting this and pushing that.

But it doesn’t last longer than about 30 days.

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Everyday Wellness

Everyday Wellness: A Look At Healthy Living For the Busy Professional
by B. Imei Hsu, RN, LMHC, Artist

Nobody I know says they want to be unwell and unhappy. “I want to trudge along in pain, puke every so often, maintain a miserable relationship, and be racked with fatigue, disease, and depression,” said Nobody.

photo placeholder. Original ink drawing by Imei Hsu.
photo placeholder. Original ink drawing by Imei Hsu.

We want to wake up each morning and feel refreshed, climb a flight of stairs without losing our breath, experience optimal mental acuity at work, and enjoy the sweetness and passion of a connected relationship with the one you love. The reality for many is that we don’t experience all of this on a regular basis. Some of you can’t remember when any of these have happened for you consistently in one season.

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New Year Un-Resolutions

If you are not ready to make a change, to take responsibility for your life, or to get yourself unstuck from the patterns of behavior you repeat day in and day out, a New Year’s resolution is a practice of futility.

However, if you reframe the usual pointless resolution into a decision to change your lifestyle and the way you behave because you have already concluded that what you have been doing is not working for you, you might just be ready to make an un-resolution. An un-resolution is not about a temporary fix to stop your emotional bleeding, your out-of-control spending or attitude of consumerism, or a resistance to the aches and complaints of the people around you. An un-resolution is a decision to act upon and engage that which is, in the moment, with all of yourself.

Here are some examples of resistance and avoidance:
shutting down your partner when s/he’s upset
eating until you can’t feel hunger or fullness
watching TV to dissociate every evening before bed
compulsive masturbation without care for the body and emotions
not answering an important phone call
piling up the bills after spending without thought
lecturing others to change for your convenience
ridiculing your spouse when s/he wishes to be close or intimate with you

Any of these sound familiar? If so, and you don’t like it, a New Year resolution will not likely change you. You are the change agent. Your thinking and your attitude about yourself and your life are the key ingredients to a shift in your attitude.

In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be back to full-time in the office (and Internet sessions) again, and ready to help those who are truly interested in that shift. Call it an attitude adjustment. Call it whatever you want. But it will originate from you even if it is encouraged or sparked by myself or someone else close to you. It is an un-resolution. And it is coming, if you make the choice to take it on.

January and February 2012 are busy months at Seattle Direct Counseling. I highly recommend booking your sessions a month at a time, especially as I prepare to speak at Creativity and Madness in Santa Fe, New Mexico next month. Use my contact form, or leave a message at my email address for inquiries about booking appointments or a consultation.