Show stoppers and other roadblocks

iCAP Services logoI was filling out a form the other day and when entering the date, I sighed and said to the customer service officer, ‘I can’t believe its December already! Where did this year go?’

She smiled and agreed that another year had flown by for her too and added, ‘I wanted to do so much this year but didn’t find the time to do anything … maybe next year!’

The beginning of each year sees most of the population welcome in the New Year and engage in setting various New Year’s resolutions.

Some can be simple like promising yourself regular massages or diving lessons. Then there is the other category of challenging resolutions to stop smoking, lose weight and spend less time at the office.

I personally stopped making resolutions ages ago when I realised that making a change in my life needn’t wait for one particular day of the year.

Creating change and allowing time for reflection is healthier for an individual’s wellbeing if done when it’s needed the most.

So, it’s the end of another year and maybe it’s time to give yourself permission to reflect back on the past year.

How many of your resolutions did you achieve?

Did you make any resolutions in the beginning of the year that weren’t realised?

Can you identify the reason for not sticking to your resolution — your show stoppers?

Was it lack of finances or altered priorities? Maybe an unexpected illness or death? Did changes to your family dynamics distract?

Or was it simply following old patterns of behaviour and expecting different outcomes?

Image of whirling dancerIt’s a given that things out of our control can be huge show stoppers in our lives. But what about the stuff we can influence?

Old behaviours can be the roadblocks we build which stop us from moving on in life.

Can you identify the patterns that you can change which would allow you to achieve your goals, implement change and stop you from going around in circles?

The flip side to this is asking yourself what is the payoff for staying exactly where you are right now. What greater goal do you achieve by NOT changing your behaviour?

Identifying these sneaky, subconscious goals can help us understand why we might fall short year after year.

It’s not guaranteed that you will succeed at every new approach you try. However, you’ll rarely experience change if you don’t actively do something different that could bring about the change you seek.

  • So, if you resolve next year to lose weight, will you take the stairs more often, adopt healthier eating habits or ask family and friends to help by not tempting you?
  • If you decide to stop smoking, will you talk to your doctor, use patches and change the social behaviours that triggered your cravings?
  • If you decide to improve your work-life balance, will you talk to your supervisor and family, practise leaving work on time and maybe adopt interests that engage your imagination?

What other changes to behavioural patterns can you think of that could be added to these examples?

Change is often easier when you let others in on your plans. As the saying goes, ‘it takes a village to’ … achieve many things.

So for next year’s resolutions, are you likely to experience the same show stoppers or will you be engaging your village to help you around your roadblocks?

Tina Pitsiavas is a Counsellor and Psychotherapist in private practice in Wollongong and Sydney.

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