The final part of Dr. Naugle’s article on effective approaches to resolutions in the New Year
Now that you’ve chosen a focal point, fine tune the lens even more. Make sure the image of what you’re trying to attain is clear in your mind. The clearer the vision, the easier it is for your subconscious to help you bring that vision to fruition and the less stress it puts on you to consciously direct the process. Focus on specifics and actions, rather than on generalities and end results. Try to avoid comparative words such as “better,” “more,” or “less,” or words that end in –er because they tend to be somewhat ambiguous. If your focal point involves creating more personal time (a rather ambiguous end-point), begin with one or two highly focused actions. Consider which of the following creates a clearer, sharper image: “make more time for me” or “stop by the park on the way home from work for half an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays to read or walk.” In the first example, “more time” is nebulous and highly subjective; with that as your target, it’s difficult to know when you’ve succeeded. With the second example, you know precisely what you’re aiming for. You have narrowed your focus from the overall goal of stress reduction to an area in which you can have a profound impact, creating more personal time, and then you have fine-tuned that even further, establishing a focus that is specific, attainable, with the emphasis on an action, rather than the final outcome. There is nothing vague or blurry about it. In the audio-visual world, every photographer wants a great shot as the end result, but they get there from the choices they make regarding each individual adjustment.
4. Make it personal and positive
People who set goals chosen from their own personal value system are more successful than those who set goals based on some external source2: what the latest magazine recommends, what your significant other wants you to do, what you think you “should” do. If you do choose to make an adjustment in your life because you think you “should,” take time to find personal and meaningful reasons that support the change, and state these in a positive way. For example, maybe you know intellectually that smoking worsens adrenal fatigue, but you’re not particularly motivated to quit. Instead of thinking, “I should quit because it’s bad for me,” try to discover direct, positive, personal benefits. By allowing your lungs to heal and limiting the toxins that your adrenals are exposed to, you may be able to rediscover an activity such as dancing you used to enjoy before your lung capacity limited you. Or perhaps you can take the money you’re not spending on cigarettes and put that towards a yoga class or other stress relief. Identify a strong inherent personal value in the changes you choose to undertake, and remember that it is easier to think about gaining something positive (e.g. dancing or a yoga class) than giving up something negative (smoking). Change can be challenging. Make sure you experience a meaningful personal benefit from all your hard work!
To move into a stress-free 2012, try letting go of the deprivation, restrictions, and needless tension that often come with the old idea of making resolutions and consider looking at things from a different view. If you choose, January 1st is as good a time as any for a self-evaluation and to reflect on things that can bring you more energy, peace and vitality. Recognize the things that are truly important to you, choose a focal point, narrow your focus, and frame your adjustments in a positive manner. Remember, a little tuning can make a big impact. By making distinct positive choices that support your overall vision, you can improve the resolution in your quality of life.
- Norcross JC, Mrykalo MS, Blagys MD. Auld lang syne: success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. J Clin Psychol. 2002; 58(4):397-405.
- Koestner, Richard and Lekes, Natasha. Attaining personal goals: self-concordance plus implementation intentions equals success. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002; 83(1):231-44.
About the Author
Dr. Lise Naugle is an associate of Dr. James L. Wilson. She assists healthcare professionals with clinical assessment and treatment protocols related to adrenal dysfunction and stress, and questions regarding the use of Doctor Wilson’s Original Formulations® supplements. With eleven years in private practice and a focus on stress, adrenals, hormonal balance and mind-body connection, she offers both clinical astuteness and a wealth of practical knowledge. Dr. Naugle also maintains updated information about the latest scientific research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, endocrine balance and nutritional support for stress and develops educational materials about stress and health for clinicians and their patients.