It’s Not About the Donuts, Part 2: Rewriting Your ‘Solutions’ for the New Year

By Kelli LaPage, MS, ATC, LAH, FASNY Health and Wellness Committee

A new year is upon us and with all of its promises for a new beginning comes a time of reflection for many of us, and a desire to start anew in 2018.

Every year, millions of people ring in the new year as they have every other December 31st – sipping champagne, watching the ball drop on TV, maybe with loved ones or maybe alone in the living room.

And in those 10 seconds that ball takes to drop to its base … our minds race with plans and goals and dreams for what the new year will bring. This year I will lose weight … This year I will get a raise … This year I will find the person to share my life with … This year I will be happy….

Rarely in those 10 seconds do we pause and consider what the new year is all about. Yes, it is a new beginning, a fresh start, a new chance. But, more importantly, it is a time to reflect on the lessons of the year gone by. Because, remember, you started last year with the same degree of optimism, hope and vigor as you will this year.

Did you achieve your goals? Did you achieve happiness? Did all of your problems vanish?

The truth is that despite all of your well-meaning intentions, probably not. That is the pattern for most of us every year. This year, instead of proclaiming lofty resolutions that will be forgotten come spring, commit to a new journey to support a healthier, happier you, one small step at a time. Look for solutions … not resolutions.

In order to implement a solution, you must first understand your goal – what is truly important to you.

In the last issue of The Volunteer Firefighter, we discussed becoming clear around three questions:

1) What is important to me?
2) What do I want (what outcome am I seeking)?
3) What actions can I take to move closer to what I want and what is important?

A resolution is arbitrary, out there somewhere … not real.

It looks good on paper, but rarely aligns actions to what is truly important to us at our core. When considering a solution, you look at the root cause.

That is the harder course of action. We don’t want to address why we are overweight, why we are tired all the time or why we are unhappy. We just want a quick fix.

It is easier to state “I will lose weight this year” than to say, “I will stop putting myself last on my list of priorities, thereby giving myself permission to take care of myself by taking time to work out every day and make the appropriate eating choices.” It is easier to say, “I will stop drinking this year” or “I will quit smoking this year” than to say, “I will address the issues that make me unhappy and unsatisfied in my life and find positive coping mechanisms that will make me feel good about myself.” And on and on.

Resolutions cause us to ignore the root cause of our “issues.” Solutions force us to look them smack in the face, stare them down and overcome them.

That is what I wish for each and every one of us in 2018. The strength to look with an honest mind and an open heart at why we are where we are. Why we have the weight problem, why we are always tired, why we drink, why we smoke, why we yell at our loved ones.

And then, begin to write our own solution(s) that will reduce or resolve those behaviors and align with what is important to us.

What we want in our lives and who we truly want to be. We cannot control everything in our lives. We can’t control our bosses, our families, our friends. We can’t control the economy, the housing market or the weather. But, we can control our actions and reactions, our behavior and our state of mind. That is what new year’s solutions are all about.

So, Happy New Year – and may this be the year that leads you to new and sustainable solutions.