If you made any New Year’s Resolutions this year they were probably to do with health and fitness, relationships or about enjoying life more in some way. These are the areas we most want to improve year after year according to numerous surveys. At the time you are reading this, some of you may be maintaining your resolve, others may be waning and some may have given up altogether, for the research claims that about 45% of Resolutions are broken by the end of January.
There is a plethora of advice about how to maintain motivation to keep our Resolutions and much of it is sensible and can help, but maybe we should not be looking at what we see as wrong in our lives, but at what is right, in order to achieve improvement. Resolutions can quickly become stressful because all of our focus is on our perceived shortcomings and, as a consequence, we are unkind to ourselves. When we have difficulty keeping the Resolution we feel even worse about ourselves and these stressful thoughts flood our bodies with adrenaline and cortisol, hormones which constrict our blood vessels and cause other important biological changes that control how we think – so we are more likely to make poor decisions which lead to further self-criticism until we give up altogether and decide to try again next year.
There is another way. You can choose a happier state of your mind by giving attention to what you are grateful for rather than what you would like to change. Studies show that gratitude can enhance emotional well-being and bring social benefits too. As Wayne Dyer says: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
If you are grumbling about your body because you believe yourself to be overweight or out of shape, find three things to be grateful to your body for and really feel the appreciation. Express gratitude to those close to you as often as you can instead of criticising them for their failures. Give thanks to people you encounter in your day to day activities. These practices remind us of what is important and helps us to keep positive.
An attitude of gratitude is beneficial and it is powerful but it needs developing. A Gratitude Diary can be a good idea – just taking time out to think about what you are really grateful for – and in time it gets easier – in fact it becomes a habit of thought – a beneficial habit of thought. This is something we can all achieve in 2013.
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed