Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other

“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other”–Anonymous

New Year’s Resolutions often fade into the background by the end of January. It seems diets are the same way. Lots of excitement week one, and then back to old habits soon thereafter. I think it’s because they come from “I should” statements instead of “I want to’s”.
Lifestyle changes are different. They are born out of our values-what’s important to us at the core. So I have started asking my clients to make a list called the ‘what’s to my advantage list’. Simply put, it’s about stating your intentions, or the vision you have of the life you want to be living. Intentions are about this very moment…not a goal for the future.
Here’s one list that I hope will inspire you to write your own:
In 2012 it’s to my advantage to…
  • Be healthy in body, mind and soul
  • Eat for enjoyment and fuel; however, not for entertainment, denial, distraction, sadness or because it’s still there
  • Stand and sit straight & tall
  • Have a strong core: physically, mentally and spiritually
  • Choose activity over passivity
  • Develop and choose soothing, healthy ways to relax
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Contemplate
  • Get sufficient, restful sleep
  • Have a tidy house; therefore, a workable routine for chores
  • Acknowledge my feelings
  • Be kind in general and especially to myself
  • Be wise
  • Be helpful
  • Be mindful
  • Honor my family
  • Cultivate and cherish friends
  • Be faithful yet flexible
  • Be a good listener
  • Be patient without acquiescence
  • Speak my mind when it improves the silence; hold my tongue if it doesn’t
  • Have a cat
Add some energy and focus to your intentions by posting your list in places you will look at multiple times per day–on purpose. Just having a list on a piece of paper isn’t enough. Get creative with it–Make a vision board, with pictures of you the way you want to look and feel when you are living your intentions. Do your best in each and every moment. At first, you may need to “act as if”. That’s ok—theater can be fun!
In January, we’ll address more actions to take to keep your intentions alive.
Wake up each day and treat it like New Years!
Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy and visionary New Year!

Ellen is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and Redwood City, California. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and incorporates the use of mindfulness into the treatment of depression, anxiety, and emotional overeating. She runs a holistic weight loss program called Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss, Ellen is also a skilled couples' therapist. Ellen’s interest in behavior change grew out of her work with people with diabetes in 1990 at California Pacific Medical Center. Ellen is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSF where she worked from 1995-2003 specializing in women’s mental health issues and brief treatment. She ran the Cognitive Behavioral therapy group program for women with depression. Ellen continues to supervise psychiatry residents at UCSF. She lectures extensively in the Bay Area. Feel free to email Ellen at