Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

New & Improved!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day… and I’m feeling good.  So ends the song written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse from the musical “The Roar of the Greasepaint – the Smell of the Crowd.”  The song has been covered by a number of artists since the 60’s, but this coming year I want to make an effort to be the one singing it every single day.  Of course, it may start off more as an exercise in the fake-it-‘til-you-make-it mode, though I’m optimistic for the future.  Research shows that it takes about 21 days of repetition to change our neural pathways in order to establish a firm foundation for ongoing good habits.  After repeating this song to myself over and over for the next three hundred and sixty-five days I figure at some point I will be eating, sleeping and breathing it.  Come what may this next year, I want to end each day whispering the words, “…and I’m feeling good.

 Traditionally, the last day of the year has been one set aside for reflection.  Some folks sit down and make lists of resolutions and wishes for the upcoming year.  My friends and I have been no different.  Many a December, we’ve sat discussing the multitude of ways to shoot for self improvement in the year to come.  We’d talk about better diets, how to purge bad habits (or toxic relationships), present ideas for new and improved strategies when dealing with complicated personalities in the way of bosses, spouses, in-laws, etc. – all the chips would be tossed on the table and we would walk each other through the proposed process for progress in all areas.  Good ol’ pie-in-the-sky planning.  Some of my best table-time with friends has included this kind of conversation, solving the problems of the world (or at least the ones at the end of somebody else’s nose). 

 Staring at my shiny, new unwritten datebook (paper memory) for this coming year I am thinking that having friends and loved ones at the ready for the days ahead is going to be incredibly helpful.  Because it is always easier to objectively sift through somebody else’s “Garbage vs. Recyclable” pile.  Staring day in and day out at my own heaps of stuff can be overwhelming and it hasn’t always been easy to sort through, in fact sometimes it is nearly impossible to determine the good from the bad when you’re sitting squarely in the middle of it.  At least, that’s been my experience.

To exchange good habits for bad, it has been proven that more people would be successful if they had a support system in place to so.  A study done at the University of Hertforshire showed that people who made a two-week resolution (the lifespan of most New Year’s resolutions, so they say) and relied solely on their own willpower failed even before the half-way mark.  Those who shared their plans with family and friends were far more likely to succeed.  In addition to having support, the study also showed that failure was less likely when folks didn’t try to “do too much too soon”.    Baby steps, moderation and all that jazz.  Didn’t our grandparents always swear that was the only way to go? 

Year after year, surveys show that the most popular New Year’s resolutions include:

 

  • Get a better job/education
  • Get physically fit/Lose weight
  • Manage debt/Save money
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink less
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle/Be greener
  • Take a trip
  • Volunteer to help others

 

Looking over the list, I can see how the two week success rate isn’t very promising.  Some of those goals are pretty daunting and should probably not be attempted alone.  Except for that last one – volunteering to help others.  If you find yourself lacking your own support system, then I’m going to suggest you roll your sleeves up and visit a center, shelter or clinic and ask where you could be of service.  You’ll be amazed at the people you’ll meet and how you just might find your own support while providing it to others. 

There are no secrets to how to create a most successful and gratifying new year (though the publishing industry is chockablock with attempts), but one of the key ingredients seems to be people, kind and supportive people in our corner cheering us on to greatness (or at least another .5 mi. on the treadmill).  Join me, as I put that as item #1 on my list: “Gather friends” – and pick the phrase that is going to help you through.  Check in with me next year and we’ll see if we can’t agree that, despite everything… we’re feeling good.

Wishing a very Happy New Year to you and yours. 

xo – t.

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