So another year bites the dust. But that's just the calendar, isn't it?
How are you doing with your New Year's resolution? Have you decided to change anything this year? Or have you joined the cynical majority and given up on New Year's resolutions because you've learned they just don't work, that you can't change like that? I don't blame you because I've been there. Been there, done it to death.
Nothing is magical about a new year. And remember Y2K? Some people thought a new millennium might change what a new year could not. But we found out what we already knew. A new millennium won't change you, either. These are just numbers we make up to keep track of time passing. Your baggage follows you wherever you go, even into a new year, and there's no such thing as a clean slate. You can't start over. It's way too late for that.
This doesn't mean you can't change, but let's be reasonable. A change might be worthwhile and even necessary. But all behavior occurs in a context. How about changing that?
How about a more graceful approach this year?
Instead of cruelly ejecting that old, useless habit or adding some radically unfamiliar new one, (though undoubtedly beneficial) would it make any sense to strive for more balance in your life this year?
I'm talking about a lifestyle change, sure, but nothing radical. Just a tad more awareness of what you're really trying to do, where you want to go in your life. This might, like losing a bit of weight, be a valid resolution for most of us in every new year;something that needs a renewed commitment and has the potential to really benefit us in a meaningful way.
My guess is you've been struggling to keep a lot of balls in the air. Everyone seems to be so busy these days. And, probably, you've been stealing time and energy from some priorities in order to keep others going according to the perceived demands of the moment. Your work, your family, your fun, your health, your wealth are all important and demanding projects that require your attention on a regular basis. You don't want to let any of these demanding life projects slip. There's too much at stake.
Think about all the time and energy you've put into these efforts to this point. Maybe you've already had the experience of trying to regroup after a set back. Maybe you know it can be done because you've done it. If so, you know it doesn't come easy, either. Always better not to let things slip at all if you can help it. And, with a little awareness, there is much you can do toward keeping all those balls in the air.
This is really a holistic New Year's resolution. It may lack specificity, but that's for you to provide on a daily (or at least weekly) basis. I don't know what you need to do for your own life to balance it out. You'll have to decide that. I only want to provide the general idea and maybe provoke you to take a look at your own configuration. What you've created so far has it's own particular nature. Are you contented with it? No doubt, it's a reflection of you. How could it not be? Your track record is your own. You made it whatever it is. Only you can make these decisions.
True enough, life does throw things at you. Generally, we all deal with the same issues: working effectively, trying to accumulate a little something so we don't always have to work hard, loving well, trying to stay married and getting the offspring started on the right foot, maintaining friendships, learning to enjoy ourselves in various contexts and then, eventually, letting all of that go. It's a challenge all right. Still, it's the only game in town so we do have to play it. How to play it well? I'd say balance is demanded. You could leave this to chance, but I think you can do better than that. Use your noodle. How are things really going for you? Can you do anything about any of it?
OK, assessment time. Identify your projects and goals. This year, resolve to give each its just due every week. Then remember and take time to do it. This approach, while not radical, is sweeping. Moreover, it's realistic. And it will bring you one year closer to realizing the destiny you've been choosing for yourself. I hope it's a worthy one. Happy New Year!
Hugh R. Leavell has been a marriage and family therapist in Palm Beach County for 18 years. He offers free seminars on couples communication and conflict management. The next one will be Jan. 6 at 4 p.m. in Palm Beach Gardens. Call him at (561) 471-0067 or visit his Web site www.oneminutetherapist.com.