Question 12/21 from Elizabeth:

With great intention, optimism and hope I make a New Year’s resolution every year. But within a few weeks, at most, I slide back into my old patterns. Is there a better way to do this?

Answer from SkillfulDoc:

You are obviously not alone! It is great that you start off the year with this optimism and good intention, however to keep it going and to actually realize the goal, one needs to create balance in life.  Indeed, when life becomes hectic it is often hard to concentrate on long term goals, instead the primary objective becomes getting through the day.  Still you must embrace these everyday challenges with open arms to go beyond them.


In my book, Skillful Living, I wrote: “When confronted with a challenge, simply stating, “I look forward to this opportunity,” is a great way to start. Of course, any worthwhile journey involves preparation that goes well beyond reciting positive affirmations. And while eating better, exercising more and going to bed earlier can help; the voyage of self-discovery and self-actualization is not solely a corporeal endeavor. Attention to the mind, emotions and spirit is crucial as well.”


Thus, it is important to remember to incorporate your goals into a more comprehensive framework that encompasses all of the essential aspects of the path you are on in life. In this regard, it becomes necessary to integrate your efforts on the physical level with those that attend to your emotional and spiritual needs. Similarly, our relationship with others, those to whom we are close as well as the society at large, deserves consideration. Once we do this, our goals not only are better defined and more congruent with our core being, but the work required to achieve them will be most efficient and effective.

Finally, you must also remember to accept failure as well as success.  Thus, we must not see the trials and tribulations as cause for disappointment; rather we should view the struggle as an opportunity to learn. With full attention and awareness we actually will get better at it. And, growth and development are certain to occur as long as we keep our heads up.


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