Emotional Fitness

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10 Tips to Start Over for 2014

Resolutions seldom work, but new beginnings do

Instead of making a resolution, which most of us aren’t all that great at keeping, why not look for some areas in your life where you’d like to begin anew? Here are some tools to make starting over a little easier and your new year a little more emotionally fit. 

1. Starting over is not the same as recouping from a failure. It is a new beginning. This mindset is helpful because it keeps you from wasting your time being too hard on yourself.

2. Moving through life is like climbing stairs. You go up a level and then you level off. Nothing is ever a straight shot. Have some patience with yourself and with your newfound direction.

3. A new year is also a new decade and may be a new life if you approach it in the right way. Sometimes little ideas can turn into big things. Try writing that letter to the editor or, if you need to, make the choice to drink a little less alcohol.

4. Endings are not necessarily bad things. Even if the past year was your best so far, the one ahead might just leave it in the dust. This is also true if it’s been your worst year so far, and you’ve suddenly found yourself unemployed or unattached 

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5. Starting over may feel scary, but it’s really a cause for celebration. Think of it as exciting, and many of your anxious feelings will begin to fade. Both feel the same to the body.

6. Remember that your future is not governed by your past. No matter what has happened in your life, you can find a way to make things a little better for yourself, and hopefully for those around you as well.

7. Having to start over is different from choosing to start over. For those whose lives are still in chaos because of manmade and natural disasters, starting over is not a choice. Giving support to those in need and being able to accept it when necessary are great qualities.

8. Healthy alternatives to negative lifestyle patterns abound. Take baby steps if you don’t feel comfortable making all your changes on January 1. If you can’t stop a bad habit, start by cutting back. It’s okay to give yourself a little time to moderate or stop something that’s hurting you.

9. It’s not all about joining a gym to get fit. What about taking a dance class to get in shape and have fun at the same time? Starting over can mean chasing your dreams. We’re happiest when we’re moving toward a goal.

10. Starting over is about giving yourself a chance at real happiness. You will have to be brave and get good at learning new things, but how bad can that be? At the very worst, you will acquire the skills you need to start on the next project.

The new year is a great time to start over. Remember that once you honestly commit to the changes, you have already begun the process.

 

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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