Don't check your email on Sundays
12 little resolutions that promise big results

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Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul


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exercise, fitness, self improvementWhat is it about making New Year's resolutions?

We decide to exercise more, stop smoking, and promise to weed the garden this summer--knowing full well that these decisions will come and go as often as the weather changes.

More importantly, why do so many New Year's resolutions--and goals we set for during the year--fizzle?

For some it's hard not to get the urge to make a resolution or two on New Year's Eve. Others refuse to do it. As the calendar turns to a new year, there is a sense of renewal and rebirth; and a burning desire to let go of bad habits.

So what can we do to make resolutions stick? Is changing our behavior really that difficult?

While change is certainly possible, it requires some personal commitment, says Dr. Aridi, of the Washington D.C. Mental Health Counseling Association. "We have to be willing to put forth energy, effort and often make sacrifices that may be required." So why do we make these personal promises every 12 months?

"The New Year is often viewed as an opportunity to make a fresh start," Dr. Aridi says. The second thing, is that most of us do have natural desire to grow and improve but we often need some kind of stimulus to motivate us to change. And the idea of the New Year's resolution inspires us to take some kind of action.

prayer, meditation
Your desire for change must originate from within

And we fail to follow through with our New Year's resolutions because the resolutions are probably not made for the right reasons. "The problem is that most of the New Year's resolutions come from social expectations. As a result, these are often externally motivated. And from what we have seen, change needs to come from within. It needs to be internally motivated." In other words, if someone is telling you that you should do this, or you should do that, then one rarely follows through with that kind of external prodding.

Dr. Aridi goes on to say that to succeed, your desire for change must not only originate from within, but it your drive must be so strong that you will be committed and willing to make sacrifices. As dry as it sounds, to succeed you need to make some realistic goals. You also need to be patient.

organic gardening, organic fertilizer

Here are four simple and effective steps to help you make and keep your New Year's--and all year--resolutions. Then I'll share 12 little resolutions that make a big difference:

1. Be specific and clear about what you want
Instead of saying, "I want to get into shape," you'll see better results with "I am going to lose ten pounds by the end of March and I am going to do it by working with a friend and having this kind of diet plan and by exercising three times a week." Psychologists say if you can keep this resolve for three months, it has a better chance of becoming a habit.

2. Your goal(s) must be realistic and achievable
When we set very high standards or very unrealistic goals, we feel overwhelmed, so we throw up our hands and give up. So rather than saying, "I want to landscape the entire yard this year." Break it down into manageable projects. For example, this year you could focus on the area by the driveway and next year you can add and plant shrubs in raised beds around the front lawn.

Gardening newsletter and radio showAnother example of biting off more than you can chew would be The Great Organizing Promise, roughly translated to, "I am going through the whole house--attic, garage, everywhere--and get rid of stuff." When someone in the household makes that claim, eyebrows lift in disbelief and numbed silence.

If you're really serious about getting rid of stuff, turn it into a realistic goal. Set a side time each day or week. Limit yourself to blocks of time. Set the kitchen timer for 60 minutes or work through a CD of lively music. Collect boxes from the grocery store and sort stuff as give-aways, throw-aways, recyclables, and put-aways. Before you know it, you'll be seeing daylight where you've never seen it before. 

3. Most importantly, your goal, or goals, should be in alignment with your values and who you are
They should also lead, eventually, to a better life for you and those around you.

4. Lastly, remember to reward yourself as you make progress toward your New Year's resolutions
Pat yourself on the back as you reach each rung on the ladder. And be patient, especially with yourself. There is a line in A Course in Miracles that reads, "Infinite patience produces immediate results." Infinite patience describes the condition of faith or knowing. If you know with a complete absence of doubt that what you are doing is consistent with your own purpose and values, then you are at peace with yourself. You shift out of a the need to see the results right now, just as when that carrots and pansies will grow at their own pace, as nature dictates, rather than as your impatient self dictates.

You can also LISTEN to this article...

I produce a weekly, 3-minute radio show called the UpBeet Gardener which radio stations can download for FREE from www.upbeetcommunications.com. You, too can listen to this audio article by going to my blog. It won't cost you a dime!

organic gardening, organic fertilizer

As the Oriental proverb, perhaps inspired by Confucious, says, "With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown." So your landscaped yard or goal to lose weight is a silk gown in the making. And you don't need validations and immediate applause along the way.

"Impatience breeds fear, stress, and discouragement," says Dr. Wayne Dyer. Make no mistake about it, you'll probably have many thoughts about quitting. That's your will power doing battle in the mind.

A few years ago, I spoke at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. After my talk, I visited a friend, a newspaper garden columnist, who was fielding questions at a booth. I remember one woman in particular. She was well-dressed and carried a note pad. She approached the booth. "My husband and I just bought a new house with an unfinished yard. What's the best way to landscape it?"

My friend took a deep breath and for the next five minutes outlined the basic steps: sketching a design, building any fences and decks, planting trees and shrubs first, then perennials and annuals... The lady scribbled a few notes and looked up, exasperated. "This all takes too much time. I want a garden now!" And with that, she stomped off into the crowd.

Getting back to resolving our resolutions, since you're better off with goals that are realistic and achievable, here are 12 polite suggestions for New Year's resolutions. They might seem small, but they can make a big difference in your life or someone else's.

Leaves, organic gardening, organic fertilizer
When you see the first leaves of spring, give thanks

12 little resolutions that promise big results
by Marion Owen

  1. Don't check your email on Sundays.
  2. When you see the first leaves of spring, give thanks.
  3. Try a new kind of fruit or vegetable.
  4. Don't use chemical fertilizers on your lawn.
  5. Take a box of old magazines to the recycling center.
  6. Drink a glass of water.
  7. Give a bouquet of flowers to the most difficult person you know.
  8. Visit your public library.
  9. Plant an extra row of carrots to give away to the local food bank.
  10. Walk for 15 minutes in one direction, then turn around and walk back.
  11. Take a picture of someone's hands.
  12. Drink another glass of water.

Wayne Dyer has another suggestion for keeping your New Year's resolutions:

"Be as patient with yourself, through all of your successes and disappointments, as you feel God has always been with you. When you can turn a problem over to a higher authority to which you are connected, you immediately shift to that knowing state of infinite patience."

Thanks for visiting. I hope this article has been helpful. Feel free to pass this along to friends and family. You might also enjoy reading my postings on my blog.

Cheers and blessings,

 

 



Thanks for visiting and please stop by again. I'll put the coffee on!


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