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As traditional as the December madness – eat, drink and be merry – are the New Year resolutions. Usually made during those heady days between Christmas and New Year, each year we set ourselves long lists of things we’re definitely NOT going to do this year. Drink. Smoke. Eat junk food. Drink coffee. Vegetate on the sofa. And so the list goes on. 
 
Have you ever stopped to wonder why these annual good intentions are always about what we’re NOT going to do? About the things we’re going to deny ourselves. 
 
What a way to start a new year. Is it any wonder that the beginning of January feels so miserable? 
 
Or that few New Year resolutions last any longer than 12th night? It’s already gone by the way, in case you’d missed it… 
 
Surely there must be a better way to start a bright shiny new year. 
 
 
Here’s a radical thought. If starting the year on such a bleak note doesn’t work, why not do the exact opposite instead? Of focussing on what it is we REALLY want. On the simple things we CAN DO every day that do us good AND make us feel good too. 
 
We know that some people may find this approach far too simple. Perhaps a bit too hippyish – “love and peace, man”. 
 
But why not bear with us for a bit longer, while we give you a real life example of this radical – and much simpler – way to start the year. 
 
Let’s take that most traditional of January pursuits. The post Christmas detox / weight loss / fitness programme. 
 
The traditional approach goes something like this. You’ve had a great December. Indulged far too much – and admit it, reluctantly. Whether you’ll be doing so publically is quite another matter! 
 
So you stand in front of the mirror, mentally listing in great detail all the things that are wrong with your life and, particularly, your body. Your waistline. Those mysterious wobbly bits that have suddenly appeared on your tummy / thighs / bum / arms / somewhere else. And don’t forget those lovely black rings under your eyes. And the list goes on. 
 
Having made yourself feel truly miserable – and bad tempered – you decide to do something about it. Drastic measures are obviously called for. 
 
Out go the comfort food / coffee / tea / chocolate / booze. Oh and anything else you like to eat or drink. Look at that long list of things you’re going to give up. Yes, this will definitely raise your spirits and get you where you want to be – and in a minimum of time too. Er, unfortunately, not. 
 
In their place go all those things you know – in theory – will do you good. And you do know the theory. Applying it is the issue. 
 
Oh and there’s one other little hurdle to get over. You just don’t want to do it. So, it’s a real struggle from day one. And you resent every minute of doing it. A LOT. Water. Salad. Fresh fruit and veg. Exercise. Ah, where will the misery end? 
 
Ok, so we’ve probably over played what happens. But, hopefully, made you smile at the madness of it all. Either way, is it any surprise that most New Year resolutions are so short lived? Or the majority of people spend January feeling miserable? 
 
And the pattern is set for the rest of the year. Of many fresh starts. For the spring. Summer holidays. That special occasion. Things will definitely be different this time. But, somehow they never are. 
 
So let’s try a completely novel approach. Ok, yes, let’s admit it we did over indulge a bit in December. But there’s no need to list them –in great detail. 
 
Let’s not focus on all the things we did which perhaps – with the benefit of hindsight – we could have done without. 
 
Or waste time dwelling on things we can’t change. After all, however much we’d like to change things, we can’t. Christmas is long gone. 
 
Instead, let’s focus on what we DO want. And that’s to feel happy and healthy. While we may all express it in different ways, if you dig down deep enough, that’s what everyone wants. We all just have different ways of trying to achieve it. 
 
So how about focussing on the SIMPLE – and POSITIVE – things we can do NOW to feel that way. 
 
Let’s take a simple example of one small change that can make a big difference – and is so much easier to do, IF you start from a positive viewpoint. And that’s our old favourite, cutting down on the coffee – or tea, if you prefer? 
 
Yes, we all love our regular fix of tea or coffee during the day. 
 
And, yes, we all know that all the advice is to cut down the caffeine and drink more water instead. But, so often, it feels like we’re missing out. Not to mention being such hard work. 
 
So let’s experiment with this new approach. And start with a really simple question. Are you really enjoying the cups of coffee or tea you already drink? Or is it just a habit, as you gulp them down while doing something else? 
 
Instead of focussing on what you’re cutting down, why not take time to really enjoy the cup of coffee / tea you do have? To savour them. Make them a part of your day you really enjoy. 
 
Rather than having instant – or a teabag in a mug – why not take the time to have a “proper” cup of tea or coffee? Wouldn’t you prefer to have fewer really good cups of them, rather than lots of “just so” ones during the day? 
 
Now that you’ve changed your emphasis on to enjoying what you do have, having less of it is no longer an issue. So, now on to drinking more water. 
 
Well, again, it’s quite simple. While you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, have a glass of water. Keep a glass – or bottle – within easy reach as you go about your day. Being in eyeshot acts as a reminder to have a slurp of water from time to time. And as you gradually begin to drink more water you’ll be less thirsty and so want less coffee / tea. The end result is that you’ve made two changes really easily. And, yes, it really is that simple. 
 
So now you’re on a roll. Give yourself a big pat on the back. Not only will you feel better for it, but you’ll then want to use the same approach to make other changes. And that’s how real change happens. One small step at a time, becoming a natural part of your life. 
 
We all know what we should be doing. It’s the doing bit that trips us up. So why not make it easy on yourself? Only ever focus on the positive aspect of any change you want to make. What you’re gaining, not losing. And that way change happens effortlessly. Life really can be that simple! 
 
As always, the choice is yours. 
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