Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Still Contemplating January

Yes, I know it’s February, but we're still orienting to the new year.
           January Fun Fact: January is named for Janus, the ancient Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces because he looks to the future and to the past.
            Janus fits in nicely with the month of January; New Year is a natural time of self-reflection. When we look back at last year, we can see how we intuitively want this year to be different, to be better. However, most find that by mid-January they have already broken and abandoned their resolutions. Usually that's because they made their resolution from a harsh, critical, and judgmental Part. Additionally, the resolutions may be vague or feel very demanding and perfectionistic, have no workable plan, and are not sustainable for the long run. For example, “Get healthy,” “Get organized,” “Be perfect!”
            What if we tried a different approach? Have you heard of SMART goals? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Let’s rewrite one of the aforementioned resolutions, engaging Wise One Within and using curiosity, compassion, clarity to create a workable plan. 
            Our SMART goal resolution says, “I will eat a vegetable with dinner, three times a week.” I'm sure you can see how that's very specific. It is also measurable—you eat a vegetable or you don’t. It’s achievable to eat a vegetable with your dinner. Realistic? Yes, you are able to do this. And timely? We said we would do this three times a week.
            Because of the way this resolution is worded, we know exactly what we are trying to achieve, and it gives us some wiggle room for those days when vegetables are not available. We don't expect ourselves to be perfect. 
            Your perfectionistic or critical Parts may not like what I have suggested. These Parts may want to force us to change even though the way it has tried in the past has not worked. Our Wise One Within knows the wisdom of trying something new, and something is better than nothing..  
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC
Amy is the Director of The Awakening Center, which she founded 25 years ago! She is the author of Healing Part by Part: An IFS Guide to Recovery from Eating Disorders. For more information about her book click here: http://www.awakeningcenter.net/new-book--cd.html.