Positive Change in a Year of Renewal


I look to the beginning of the year as an opportunity to start fresh, renew, with changes that I want to bring into my life. But first, I have to be clear on what it is that I want or what areas of my life I want to renew. Many years ago, I used to think that change was a negative concept, that it meant chaos or even loss of something. Over the years, I have found, though, that change can be about creating more joy, balance or fulfillment–increasing the good. This kind of change also is more likely to create something more enduring.

The other thing about change is that I used to approach it with what I didn’t want more of in my life. Change meant “ditch this, move on.”  Or another, “I’m not happy with the way my clothes are fitting. I need to lose some weight.”  I used to be a human yo-yo. I completely overlooked change as the agent of  “I really love this. What can I do to create more of this in my life? What is it that does work for me?” This shift in perspective was significant. For instance, if I want to have more energy and feel good physically, the change for me would be working out more regularly and eating foods that make me feel more vital — fresh, whole foods instead of processed, refined ones and drinking more water. A nice side effect of making this kind of change, in addition to more energy and and health, is my clothes end up fitting better.

The focus is on increasing or adding something that is good for me, not on, here’s the word — loss.

Once you figure out what you want to manifest in your life, what next? The answer shouldn’t surprise — goals. Setting a goal is like creating a road map to get where you want to go. Without them, things can fall apart pretty easily. The tricky thing with goals is they have to be realistic. You can be your own saboteur in the success of a goal if it is not realistic for you. For instance, a sabotage that I used to do was giving myself a timeline that was just not workable in the attainment of the goal. I would get enthusiastic and think that I could accomplish it in much less time than was possible for me. Then  when I didn’t make the goal within that time frame, I would think that I failed and sometimes even give up on it. I would occasionally even top it with the cherry of being hard on myself for failing. Small steps work.  They really, really do.

Okay, you’ve set a realistic goal. The next step is adding something new into your life — prioritization:

1) Write down a list of ideas of things you can do to attain that goal.

2) Break each item on the list down into pieces — manageable steps.

3) Figure out what small step(s) you can take tomorrow or this week toward your goal, the next week, the week after and so on.

4) Prioritize it into your schedule, giving it as much importance on your list as your other priorities.

If you find that you are shoving it to the side on a regular basis, it is not being given priority on your list. If you miss a day or even a few days, dust yourself off and pick it up again. Even laughter and fun are important priorities in a balanced, fulfilling life!

Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication consultant, coach and author of the award winning book, Becoming What You Want to see in the World.  For more information: www.maryclaireoneal.com

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