New Years Resolution

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What’s the point? Every New Year’s resolution I set, never sticks. Sure, it sticks for a few days or weeks, but by Valentine’s Day I’ve already forgotten what it was in the first place.

Why does this continually happen?

When I look closer, I realize that the process of a resolution is the exact same every year. I choose a blank arbitrary statement like:

Lose weight, lose XX pounds

Make more money

Drink less alcohol

Pay down debt

Buy a car

Buy a house

Get the job, get the promotion

Be a better spouse/parent/child/employee

Am I the only one that struggles to stay committed to my resolution? Maybe there is just too much pressure to commit to something for an entire year? To answer these questions, I look at my own journey.

I am an addict. I don’t use alcohol or drugs anymore. I’ve been clean and sober for years.

But as an addict, the odds are stacked against me. The unfortunate reality is that most addicts relapse. Knock on wood, this will not be my story.

You see, addicts and those of us that make resolutions have a lot in common. We commit to change a behavior and for some reason in a short period of time (hours, days, weeks, months) we lose our initial motivation and go back to our old ways. For an addict this is life and death.

Many things happen when we break our resolution. It crushes us on deeper levels than many of choose to acknowledge. Self pity, self doubt, and isolation may start to gain momentum at a subconcious level. The mind tells us “of course you didn’t stick to that, you never do”.

What makes staying sober and keeping a resolution so difficult? For me it was simple–change.

Change makes me very uncomfortable. To stay sober I had to change everything. New friends, a new cell phone number, daily commitments to recovery, new hangout spots, and being okay with feeling insanely uncomfortable (for the short term).

I stayed sober, not by saying, I’m never going to drink or drug again, but by breaking it down into manageable challenges. Hourly, daily.

Think about your current life and suddenly you have 100 things to do. What have we always been told? Write things down, break them out into manageable tasks and do one at a time. This is the exact same methodology to apply to keeping your resolution. Stay committed for the hour, for the day. Hours lead into days, days into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Years turn into lifestyle changes.

Set Yourself Up for Success

When I get into a bind where I think about a drink or a drug, I have the tools to help me out of that situation. These tools were taught to me through my recovery journey. Calling a friend who is on the same path, having an exit plan from an engagement, taking my own car, not over committing, etc.

The same applies to keeping your resolution. You need tools to help you stay focused and increase your chances of success.

If losing weight is your resolution there are certain things you can do to make it less painful. Prepare your next meal after you’ve eaten and are full, shop on a full stomach, don’t enter a coffee shop hungry, drink lots of water, always carry a bag of nuts, etc. Set up a support network of a couple of people that are also committed to this. Keep your contact with others who are not on the same journey to a minimum at the beginning. It was a whole lot easier for me to stay sober when I was around sober people all on the same path.

Good luck in 2018! To start you only need to accomplish your resolution for January 1stTomorrow is a new day. Remember feeling uncomfortable is a good thing. It means you are doing something different. 

Nothing changes, if nothing changes”

Accepting SUCCESS & Failure

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How do you define success and failure? Is it Monetary? Status? Relationship? Family?

Why is it so easy to accept success and so hard to accept failure? This is something that I think about a lot.

The truth is, my failures have led to my greatest successes. It sounds cliché, I know, but hear me out.

Example 1: The failed relationships prior to my spouse. At the time, I was devastated, but if any one of those had worked out I would not be married to the person I am today. The person that I am truly meant to be with.

Example 2: Career setbacks.  Lay-offs, dismissals, mergers and acquisitions, terminations.

Again, if these had not occurred I would not be where I am today. In a role that fits my personality, skills and talents, with a boss who trusts and respects me.

This thought process can be applied to any part of life. And the beautiful part of this perspective is that it takes the stress and pressure off. In the future if I “fail”, I know that any setbacks are leading me to something greater. I don’t look for failure, but when it comes I’m accepting of it. It isn’t easy, and sometimes I need to fake it, but this framework has taken me through some of the most challenging times.

To me, a failure is only a failure under two circumstances:

  • If I haven’t learned something.
    If my ego gets the better of me, and I fail to reflect, I don’t learn from my mistakes–and something can always be learned.  “Forget the mistakes, learn the lessons.” @powerofpositivity
  • If I repeat the behavior (see above).

The hardest part about failure is having the belief and trust that it happened for a reason. If you can get your mind set focused on this–that everything happens for a reason, you will experience great relief. Think about your own life, previous ‘failures’ or challenges. If you sit quietly and focus, you can see that you have had examples of this before.

The last thing I want to address is fear–fear of failure. I have always been told that you can have either fear or faith but not both. Pick one. The fear of failure can be crippling. Change your mindset. If failure happens, it is a gift. It means you are getting closer to the success. Learn from it.

I close with a great IG post from @mindsetofgreatness

“Sometimes life doesn’t give you something you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve so much more.”

Being present when I’m present

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It’s Christmas break. I’m with my family. My mind cannot stop racing. I have a good life. Correction, I have a great life. Great family, great job and everyone is healthy. Why am I not enjoying this moment?

I wish I had a better job, earned a higher salary, wasn’t in debt, bigger house and nicer car. Why are we here in our home, why are we not on a Christmas Ski trip in Aspen?

I think to myself, Aspen, seriously.  I’m the only one who skis.

Are all my thoughts financial? No. I also wish I had a better smile, smaller waist, better relationship with my spouse, family, staff and boss, more time in the day.

Again, the last part of my thoughts puzzles me. What would I do if I had more time? Is there not enough time in the day currently? I have free time now and I am totally wrapped up in the past and future. Missing the beautiful Christmas moments in my home, these exact moments will never happen again.

What can I do to get out of my head…I go to the one thing that never lets me down. My phone. Facebook, Instagram. I breathe a sigh of relief; my thoughts are leaving me. Look at the Christmas photos…giant houses, beautiful decorations, Christmas trees that belong at City Hall, not in someone’s home. Focusing on the material, again missing the point. Focusing on what I don’t have, rather than what I do have.

My bosses home, wow what a family room, I pause for a moment to read what she wrote. She admits to not being perfect and making mistakes. Not regretting the past, but learning from it. She puts it all out there for her followers to see. Everyone. She also acknowledges her family. This is all that’s important.

I like the photo.

I was once told, when I’m in the past, I welcome depression. When I’m in the future, I welcome anxiety. When I’m in the present, I welcome peace.

Today, I choose to welcome peace.

I learn from this Christmas experience and my boss’s words of wisdom. I will do my best for the rest of today, to be present. It’s not my crazy work schedule that is causing issues in my home. Its my struggle to be alone in my thoughts, my discomfort to be present, its too real.

Being uncomfortable is good, it means I’m learning, growing…. maturing.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow I will get up and fight again.