Resolute in January and no resolutions

January is a time when many of us think about self-improvement, I think a lot of us concentrate on dramatic, drastic changes in ourselves, lives and outlook. I know I think this way and quite a lot.

Some us imagine, waking up one day, running a Marathon before the sun is up, meditating, drinking a healthy smoothie, finishing our yoga, our weights, cooking breakfast for everyone else, with a smile on our faces and having a highly productive day.

We focus on putting money in the bank each and every day at work, being a great parent and/or grand-parent and friend in-between. We imagine managing all the interruptions and demands of the day and being a positive, supportive person to our partner, loved ones and family and then wrapping the day off with reading, some journaling and some self-reflection about just how well the day went.

We do not imagine that the road to self-improvement could be more simplistic. We do not imagine that the road to self-improvement could be simply adding a ten-minute walk into our day after dinner because that is not enough. We do not imagine that the road to self-improvement could be simply removing that daily habit of hitting the snooze button, gorging on a chocolate bar or not grabbing for the wine bottle because that action could not possibly be the reason each and every one of your day’s is a chaotic mess.

We do not imagine that the road to self-improvement could be simply stopping the negative self-talk and spending five-minutes each morning thinking about three things you are truly grateful for because it just feels too silly to be meaningful.

We want the change to be dramatic, gigantic and completely unattainable because if the change is simple, small and attainable, then ‘we’ are the problem. I was reminded of this when I received a gift from a dear, dear friend this Christmas’ a gratitude diary. (They know me better than I know myself sometimes.)

It is very easy to stay entrenched in the same seemingly poor situation you have been in for far too long when you make yourself believe that the life you want to lead is out of your reach, too hard and extremely complicated. It becomes entirely unfathomable to think that you are the only obstacle in the way of your life’s desires. Nothing is out of your reach; it is simply your mindset which is the limit. To accept you are the problem of your own (and everyone’s happiness around you) is extremely painful and draining but in some sense liberating. Please do remember though, that you cannot be both the ‘perpetrator’ and ‘the shoulder to cry on’. One is at the expense of the other despite any apology that you must make.

The next time you think about that glossy, shiny, perfect version of yourself and your life, think about one simple small change you could make which would get you an inch, nay, a millimetre closer to that goal.

Add that little positive task to your day and instead of thinking that it is a waste of time or not going to accumulate to anything substantial, simply perform the act for thirty-sixty days. See how you feel after a month or two. Think about how much time it actually took to incorporate this little task into your life. Project on how it will be as you begin to add more and more small, positive changes into your daily routine.

When we focus on the big picture everything seems out of reach, but when you think about simply the day ahead or even just the next sixty minutes, accomplishment becomes much more attainable.