New Year’s Resolution, Not Broken Promises — by Sharon McKenzie

In the past I`ve started each year with a list of resolutions – those broken parts of me that I needed to fix. With minor variations the list was virtually the same every year.  My 2008 resolutions:  1) I will start Weight Watchers next Monday and continue on program until I reach my goal weight. 2) Starting in February I will exercise every day for 45 minutes – walking and a yoga class. 3) I will stop eating all sugar. Generally I could sustain my efforts for about 4 months before a sense of futility and the disbelief that my life could ever be any different threw me under the bus. Inevitably, I gave up. A failure yet again. When 2008 ended I was 14 pounds heavier than I was in 2007. Sound familiar?

In 2009 my health and wellbeing had deteriorated to the point where I asked for help. I am a care giver by profession and by nature. Being on the receiving end was not my strong suit. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I started seeing a counselor. My first assignment was to pay attention to and jot down unkind self-talk. You know what I’m talking about; those times you causally call yourself stupid, fat, lazy, or ugly. When you dismiss your needs and desires because you don’t believe you deserve them. Every time you compare yourself to someone else and find yourself lacking; judging yourself to be less-than.  All those unloving, unkind thoughts we unconsciously think. I had to buy a second notebook half way through the week. My habitual negative self-talk was deeply rooted and I didn’t have a clue how to start loosening its grips.

During my next appointment I was introduced to the concept of visioning and the idea that what you believe about yourself and the world you live in manifests as your life. My counselor asked me how I wanted to feel. Not what was wrong with me or how I should be or what success looked like. But what did I want to feel.  I was clear about how I didn’t want to feel, I thought about it constantly. However, I’d never before put in to words how I wanted to feel.  The next step was to translate the words into pictures and collage them to serve as a visual reminder and affirmation of what I was bringing into my life. I spent 2 days cutting out magazine pictures that represented the way I wanted to feel and pasting them on to an 8×10 piece of poster board. Looking at my little poster everyday helped me to start visualizing myself living a life that felt good, in a healthy body that moved without pain, engaged in relationships and activities that nourished me. If you can visualize “it” (whatever “it” is), it becomes easier and easier to believe “it” is possible. Once you truly believe “it” is not only possible, but available if you opt to pursue it, the doors to change open. You invite into your life that which you give your attention to and release that which you no longer feed with negative self-talk and thinking. I still have that vision board; it’s precious to me because it was an opening to a healthier, happier realm of possibilities for me.

Above is my 2012 NYE vision board. How I want to feel translated into pictures that convey the emotions for me. This year’s theme was Love leads. The feelings are self-acceptance & love, connection, loving kindness, peace, passion, joy, energy, right livelihood, comfortable in my own skin and playful. My vision no longer fits on an 8×10 poster. I dare to dream big dreams these days, knowing that the only thing that limits me is what I believe about myself and my place in the Universe. Amazingly my vision board was a pretty accurate forecast of the year it ushered in and what will continue to further manifest in 2014.  Tuesday night will find me with a stack of magazines, scissors, glue and a giant piece of poster board visioning in the New Year. I invite you to consider and share with us how you want to feel in 2014 and what that would look like for you. Remember, a big dream doesn’t cost any more than a puny one – so dream BIG!  Wishing you a New Year of health and wellness!

Sharon McKenzie — RN, Licensed Bariatric Educator and Coach, Certified Back-on-Track Facilitator, Success Habits Instructor

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