It's almost the end of another year and for many, that means it is time for self-reflection. We are all fairly aware of our bad habits–overeating, drinking too much booze, not exercising, gossiping, smoking, and the list goes on ad infinitum. The typical resolutions tend to focus solely on changing undesirable behaviors, and therein lies the problem. In my opinion, New Year's resolutions are rarely successful because too much energy is wasted trying to simply modify behaviors and too little attention goes to resolving the underlying issues. So, how do you resolve the underlying issues? First, you work to increase self-awareness–you've got to understand why you do what you do before any changes will stick. Second, you've got to build your coping skills–expand how you deal with life and with relieve stress. It may take time and certainly a commitment, but by developing hobbies, interests, and a variety of outlets, the need for those undesirable behaviors is weakened. Think about it–if you are so interested in photography, love attending your weekly yoga class, and enjoy meeting newfound friends for evening walks, the need to de-stress by losing yourself in a pan of brownies may begin to ease. By understanding how you operate and working to build coping skills, many of those "bad habits may disappear all on their own!
To get started with this plan, it's a great idea to find a therapist or life coach who can help you work on the self-awareness piece. You can also begin building your coping skills arsenal by trying something new. Whether it is a hobby like jewelry making, a skill such as public speaking, or an activity like meditation, you can find resources online or in your community. I also recommend searching for continuing education courses at a community college or nearby university. You would be amazed what amazing and affordable options you will find.
For those living in Charlotte, NC, check out the following resources: