Author Archives: davidr

The New Year and a New You

Choice Relationships: 2009: The New Year and a New You
Circulation 3508
Volume 44 December 2009


My Personal Insights:

The Holiday Season is just about over and the New Year is soon upon us as this newsletter reaches you. I always find this time of year exciting. I live near NYC and even though it tends to get crowded, I always make sure to visit the tree at Rockefeller Center, the decorated windows, and just enjoy the overall smells of the Season. Somehow, the throngs of people don’t bother me at all; rather, I find the City quite magical at this time. Let me take a moment to wish all of you the very best in 2010. May you take time to enjoy the beauty around you, spend time with loved ones, and be blessed with peace!

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It’s Time for a Change

If you’re like most people, the New Year is the time that you think about making resolutions. It seems like a good time to do so — after all, it’s the beginning of a whole new year, a time for a fresh start. Of course, most people also have trouble sticking to their resolutions. Here are a couple of hints to help you maintain your plan: break your goal into small goals otherwise it’s just too overwhelming. When you achieve the small goal, reinforce yourself and then do the next small goal. Let others know you’re trying to change a behavior because support and accountability will help you.

Know that change is not a constant upward process. Rather, it’s more like a spiral; so expect there to be setbacks. That way when they happen, you won’t be blind-sided and you can continue the process. Also, be aware that any new behavior takes 21 days to become a habit.

For some or you, the behaviors you’re trying to change may be deep-rooted. They may be patterns you learned when you were a child. These will be more difficult to break. Oddly, even though you may not be happy with some of the results you get, at least you know how to do what you’ve always done. So, comfort wins out — change is scary. But also know that there are tools to help you deal with these “wired-in” patterns.

Most important of all, please remember these two things: you can make change any time you want — you do not have to wait until a new year and believe in Yourself!


Choice Tips:

  1. One of the best things you can do to change yourself is learn to meditate. This has been found to be good for your health both physically and psychologically. It will certainly allow you to not react to situations. Remember that your reactions are the only thing you can control. When you are less reactive, you will experience less stress. Even if you don’t meditate, sitting in stillness for
    5 minutes a day will help.
  2. Start to turn your attention to the present; focus on the now. Truly, there is no sense worrying about what has happened in the past – it’s over and you can’t change it. There is no sense concerning yourself with the future as you cannot predict what will happen. But by staying focused in the now, you can enjoy what is around you.
  3. Learn from all of your experiences, even the negative ones, rather than being self-critical and regretful.
  4. Be willing to accept someone for the “whole” of who they are. People are different and people are imperfect. But when you can capture the essence of the person rather than the minor transitional moments that do pass, you can enjoy life more. And if you provide a more loving attitude in general for others, they are more likely to flourish.
  5. Help change the world with little gestures: when you ask, “How are you?” wait to hear the answer, hold a door open for someone, smile at a stranger.
  6. Don’t put things off — take the time now to enjoy yourself and those you love. In reality, none of us knows how long our time is. Let the people who are important to you know that they are.
  7. Remember that life is a journey. Focus more on the process and not on the end result.

Additional Resources I Recommend:

Tolle, E, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Penguin (2008).

To start your Year off with fun, watch this video:
http://antwrp.g sfc.n asa.gov/apod/ap080722.html

I’ve shared this video with you before, but I absolutely love it and find it so inspiring:
Click here: Take time to live!

Avoiding Family Holiday Heartbreak

How to avert disputes about where and with whom you’ll spend the holidays

Question: My partner and I have families in different parts of the country. It’s tough to get them together and it’s always hard deciding where we’re going to spend the holidays. Any suggestions?

Getting Together?

In an ideal world, when a couple has found so much connection that they decide to make a long-term commitment to each other, it’s understandable to believe their families would also enjoy being together. However, that is often not the case. Additionally, most of the time, there are siblings involved and they, too, have extended families to be considered. It may just be too difficult for everyone to get together. And in today’s world, many families are separated by long geographic distances.

The resolution for most couples is to switch the family they spend the holidays with by alternating. The fact that one partner’s family lives locally and the other’s family may be far away will only complicates the matter further.

Traveling during a holiday period is certainly difficult and costly. If family is close by, I imagine you might have a more consistent involvement with them. Therefore, not spending the holidays with them won’t feel right to you. On the other hand, the very fact that you do get to see your family so often may be the very basis of why your partner feels she wants to be with her family on the holidays.

Certainly when it comes to one’s feelings, there is never a right or wrong answer. However, it is very important that a couple maintain respect for the other’s feelings and needs.

Finding A Solution

A good technique to deal with situations like this is to brainstorm. Come up with as many ideas as possible. As you think up the various ideas, there is to be no judgment-no idea is too ridiculous. Write them all down. After you think you have come up with as many possible solutions as you can, work on it for a few more minutes.

It’s been found that the best solution often comes out in these last few moments. The next part of the process is to review your list. Go through the ideas allowing either one of you to veto a suggestion without giving an explanation. Usually, you will be left with one or two ideas that you both agree upon. Work on the details of these ideas of how you will put them into action. This is called a compromise!

Here is a sample to help get you started:

  1. You fly your partner’s parents in for the holiday.
  2. You alternate years so that one year you go there and the next they come to you.
  3. You alternate holidays as far as which family you go to.
  4. You don’t spend the holidays with either family and use it as time to go away together.
  5. You host the holiday and both families come to you.

Remember, holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and a chance to reconnect. Though it can be a little tough, with a bit of creativity and a willingness to make it work, the true spirit of the holiday season can be yours!