Flipping the bird. A Different Take on New Year’s Resolutions.

shoot the bird

Are you tired of hearing about New Year’s resolutions yet?

As cliché as it sounds, I love New Year’s resolutions.  It’s quite liberating to step back and assess which of my thought patterns and habits need to be tweaked or ‘given the finger.’  Kind of like cleaning out the fridge after the holidays.

Especially right after I take down all of my Christmas decorations and re-box them in the basement.  This cleansing ritual helps me settle my thoughts and reach inward to my control panel to adjust whatever habits need some fine-tuning and determine which thinking patterns need to be given ‘the bird.’ (My son has never heard of these ‘bird’ references related to the middle finger gesture.  I know this because he was the co-director in my middle finger photo shoot. My e-book on parenting will be out soon.)

So, let’s get on with it. To which thought patterns and habits shall I flip the bird to this coming year?

In 2013, I am going to give the one finger salute to the following:

1.My inner gremlins.  (Translation:  I will throw negative self talk out the window at every possible turn.) This is particularly important as the new year begins, because this whole resolution thing can often turn into a time when we beat ourselves up about what we didn’t accomplish last year.  I’ve been a lot better about this, which I’m proud of, but I am a work in progress.  My inner gremlins still mess with me.

The trick to taming these gremlins (who like to sabotage us with negative self talk and excuses) is to become aware of them. And notice when they typically start yammering. As a great book for all ages, (Taming Your Gremlin), explains, gremlins hate to be noticed. It throws them off guard and weakens them.  This year I will recognize my gremlins and push them in the corner. (This is when I picture giving the gremlins the one finger salute as I walk away while tuning my self- talk to a more positive station.)

2. The barrage of marketing attempts raging around me at all times.  I will no  longer waste time thinking about buying things that marketers are quite good at making me think that I need. Or waste time thinking about how to redesign my perfectly functional kitchen or closets.  I will focus on what matters.  I will NOT get sucked in by direct mail catalogs, marketing emails, and ridiculous coupons (DAMN THOSE MACY’S SAVING PASS CARDS) that distract me from the more important things in life.  

For goodness sake, I have a marketing background, and I still get sucked in.  This year I will be more cognizant of how I spend my time. Maybe I will set-up an email rule to sort all of my advertising emails (many of them that I signed up for in order to receive discounts that just sucker me in) into a folder that I can open only if a need actually arises?  What a concept.

3. Small stuff that doesn’t matter.  I’m going to think less about what bothers me and instead strive to love more.   I’m going to make time to encourage others, to lift them up, to help others, and to make sure they know how much I care about them.  I will forget about the small, stupid stuff that irritates me. I won’t hold others to my standards, or expect them to behave as I would.  I will turn that little mirror inward  immediately when I start to complain or get irritated.

4. Worry. This year I will worry less and live in the moment more. I will worry less about what people think, about what kind of shape I’m in, about what I wished I had done before today, about my Mom, about whether I’m doing enough, about being far away from so much family, about my kids growing up too fast, about what could, might or will happen. I will live in the moment and do the best that I can as often as I can, and know that it’s enough.

5. The excuses that stunt my personal growth.  I will set aside routine time and plan deadlines for myself this year for writing, meditation, fine-tuning my body and taking better care of myself, learning new skills and taking time to do some things that fire-up my internal engines like painting or volunteering or riding horses.  As a result, I will grow more as a person this year.

6. Going through the motions.  Instead, I will be more awake this year.  I will ‘show-up’ for life.  I will not focus on what’s expected, but rather what feels right.  I will notice and listen and observe.  I won’t play it as safe.

I realize there will be hurdles along the way and that flipping-off all of these negative patterns 100% of the time will not be easy.  (I also realize that I shouldn’t start flipping anyone or anything off in public.) But I’m going to do my damnedest to make some changes and fully engage in this mental tune-up.

It’s going to be a fun year.  Thanks, as always, for being on this journey with me.

Any old thought patterns you’d like to ‘shoot the bird’ to this year?

Old friends. Gratitude Experiment: Day 77

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

My sides hurt earlier tonight from laughing with old friends. Old friends are hard to beat. And this quote sums it up perfectly.

All of my friends — every single one of them — make me feel like the richest person on earth just to be able to call them my friends. For all of them, I am forever grateful.

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