Today, my daughter asked me what my New Year’s resolution was. I told her I would like to be calmer and truth be told this was a resolution that I made several times last year. In 2017 I was trying to be calmer, or to put it another way, clinically-manage my frustration tolerance better. I improved but not as much as I wanted to. I think the reason for my failure was that I hadn’t fully embraced why I lose my cool.I hadn’t fully accepted that I use frustration to avoid being direct.
So this year I am adding that I also want to be more fierce.
Why do I say that?
The reason is that I don’t think I can calm down unless I first become more fierce. These may seem like opposing goals, but hear me out. What I mean is that I want to speak up rather than freak out. I want to stand by my values and what I know to be right rather than give in and feel taken advantage of. This is going to require slowing down my reaction and thinking about why I feel flustered before I react. I will then have to calm down before saying what I think but I also have to be brave and fierce enough to actually say what I think. It complicates things but I think it will actually help because it’s a more thorough method.
As I reflected on my week working with clients I realized that this method is something I often use when someone wants to give up say, fast food, avoidance, depression, bad relationships or even lessen anxiety. I usually ask: what will you replace it with? Whatever the replacement is may not (initially) feel as good. But it will be something else to do. Doing nothing in the place of something that you are dependent on (even if it’s unhealthy) seems unnecessarily difficult and maybe make it impossible. Think about an alcoholic going to AA rather than just quitting. He is replacing going to the bar with a meeting where he gets support, peer counseling and friendship. It’s not a bad trade-off and maybe what he was looking for all along.
As you make your resolutions this year make sure if you are subtracting something that you add something else to replace it. Preferably incorporate something that addresses whatever your not so good habit was trying to accomplish.
So what are your resolutions for 2018?
PS: Check your resolutions quarterly. A year is too long to wait to reassess!
Nicole C Weiss LCSW
- Phone: 619-318-5012
- Email: [email protected]