For The New Year, Don’t Resolve – Reframe – Part II
In Part II of this article, we will discuss how to reframe New Year’s resolutions regarding making major life changes, getting out of debt, and being more organized.
Reframe making major life changes: Change is very difficult to impossible for many people unless they are forced into it. The change may be going back to school, switching careers, getting a divorce, moving to another state. A New Year’s resolution to change something huge has foot-dragging stamped all over it. Instead of beating yourself up about what a coward you are, face you fear first. Find a support group among family, friends, and outside counsel. Break your fears down into lists. Then weigh the pros and cons of each fear individually. Pamper your amydala, the part of your brain that processes fear and other emotions. You can actually train your amydala to be more attentive to positive than negative. After you identify your fears, approach each one in a positive way. Look for the positive behind the fear. Once your brain is retrained to think positively, your fears will lessen and you’ll be able to make small steps toward your life change.
Reframe getting out of debt: It might not be remotely possible for you right now given the economy. But you can stop spending money. Make a list of activities you can do that are free, and then put them on your calendar. Enlist other friends who are also trying to stop spending money. Some activities are: hiking; walking the beach (try collecting heart shaped rocks); attending free concerts in parks or community yoga classes; starting or joining a book club; journaling; taking photos; cleaning out your garage or other junky areas and donating or selling your items; volunteering to walk dogs at the local animal shelter (a great way to meet people); taking community classes to learn a skill; volunteering for disaster relief programs; making a recipe book using all of your favorite recipes; learning to knit (when I was really poor I would buy old sweaters at the Salvation Army and unravel them for the yarn—you can make amazing things that way); learning to sew (my favorite quilt is made of squares of old woolen blankets zig-zagged together); going to a park or beach or public area and collect trash (this really does make you feel good); and going to a Buddhist meditation retreat (most offer sessions and even retreats for free for people who really can’t afford to pay).
Reframe being more organized: Get rid of clutter. Extra stuff bogs you down, and it is a life/energy sucker. Stop buying things you don’t need! If you’re closets are bulging just getting rid of stuff will turn you into a more organized person. Two prime spots to start are the kitchen and bedroom. We’ve already talked about the kitchen cleaning out the fridge and pantry. As for your bedroom—it is not a place to pay bills or have a filing cabinet filled with stressful tax documents. Make your bedroom (and that bulging closet) a sexy, fun, happy place to be. You’ll sleep more restfully, have more fun and ultimately be more organized!
Stay tuned for Part III of this article where we will discuss caring more about others, pursuing a new hobby, spending more time with family and friends, and getting more out of life!