T he first of the year came and many New Year resolutions were made – lose weight, start exercising, stop smoking, save money, change jobs, end a relationship, or have more family time. What is the status of your resolution? Are you progressing joyfully towards change or has resistance set in?
Any change requires a move out of your comfort zone. Status quo may seem easier, yet tighter pants, aches and pains, high blood pressure, guilt, and shame are reminders of being out of alignment with what you really want.
This is about the time excuses begin to surface.
The number one excuse for not taking action is, "I'm too busy."
It's easy to blow off making time for exercise or meal planning; something can always come up. Yes, schedules are busy, but if something is truly a priority, you will make time for it. It's time to break denial, examine your motivation, and take a closer look at the emotional components of change.
If you are overextended and saying "yes" to everything before taking something out of your schedule, take a moment to check your boundaries. You may want to "buy time" before immediately agreeing to another commitment.
Get in the habit of saying you need a day or two to look at your other commitments before making a decision. Be honest with yourself. Are you agreeing because you want to do it, or do you commit to avoid guilt or conflict, or to be loved?
If juggling family responsibilities is problematic, you may have opted to prioritize your life in this way. If you have a crammed schedule then you may have decided to live with a full calendar with little time for you.
Stop and get real with yourself and re-examine your priorities. Think about what you could delegate or set aside to carve out 20 minutes to exercise or do something nurturing just for you.
Trust that you are not a bad parent if you do not arrange your life entirely around your kids. To have enough energy to give, you have to be filled up. Feeling depleted serves no one and affects you mentally, spiritually, and physically.
If your goal is to improve your health and you want more family time, involve your kids. Go biking, walking, chop wood together, or try active video games like Dance Revolution, Wii Sport, and Wii Fit. Role modeling good health practices for your kids helps them make healthier choices.
If your excuse is, "it will take too long", question that thought.
If you wish to improve your life, it really doesn't matter how long it takes – whether it's losing weight or going back to school. Having a plan and taking small action steps will keep you motivated and on track.
Visualize having what you want and the feeling of having it. Remind yourself why you intended to change in the first place.
Any time you make a change, excuses will rear their heads. It's up to you to question each of them.
Are you giving up because you're trying to avoid failure, fear success, or don't want to feel disappointment or rejection? Being honest with yourself will help you break any resistance to change.
Grace Marks, MPH, CPC is a health educator, certified life coach, motivational speaker, and holistic stress management instructor with Native Empowerment: Solutions for Health and Harmony providing customized training programs for tribal organizations and businesses. If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to Grace@NativeEmpowerment.com, 928 774-1284, or visit www.nativeempowerment.com.