Tip/Thought of the Day

As 2020 Draws to a Close. . .

The new year gives us an opportunity to start anew. Look back at the last year, decide what worked, what didn’t, and what we can improve. We rarely have a pivotal time that defines so perfectly an end point and new beginning. This year has challenged our world, communities, families, and us as individuals in ways most of us could never imagine. And so, as the year draws to a close, it is an opportunity for us to reflect on what was, how far we’ve come, and the opportunities ahead.

My news year’s resolutions:

To seek a better balance between work and personal endeavors.
To become a better provider.
To share how I feel with those I care about before it’s too late and the opportunity is no longer available.
To learn a better way to deal with anger, frustration and sadness.
To find the words to better inform and define my feelings so those involved can move past the hurt productively.
To value who I am and all I offer.
To become more involved in activities I believe in.
To realize when it’s time to say enough.
In essence to grow and adapt to a constantly evolving life.

As I look back I remember all the wonderful memories that made me who I am today. But I also remember the times I could have dealt better, resolved sooner or just let it go.

Hindsight is always 20/20.

Although we can’t predict the future we can often predict the outcome our behavior will bring because most times it’s the same as it’s been for years, or even decades. The same response to our children’s demands, sibling rivalry, spouses quirks, work issues, parental needs. . .

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Yet we rarely see that knee reflexive behavior as anything wrong until after the kick has no more impact to motivate change.

When my daughter was younger, she would scream, yell and throw a tantrum whenever she didn’t get what she wanted. After months of unsuccessful and frustrating attempts to stop her, I was scared to go out in public. One day I saw an interview with the daughter of a famous comedian. She too, tried the same thing, thinking it’d embarrass her father so much he’d give in on the spot. Unfortunately she was too young to realize that the spotlight and craziness was his forte. The minute she started to act out, he dropped to the ground and threw his own fit, screaming at the top of his voice how he couldn’t take her tantrums! Absolutely mortified, she never tempted him again.

I loved it.

I wasn’t willing to throw myself to the ground, but clearly a different response was required. It just needed to be tailored to my personality. For me, it was making clear the outing would end at the first sign of any obstreperous behavior and prevent another one for a week. No cajoling, no talking, just action. The secret is follow through. Hollow threats don’t work. If there’s no power behind the words then the words are futile. It only took a couple of events- leaving the bowling alley shortly after meeting friends, the swap meet when she demanded an item- to reinforce Mom’s statement. Her behavior would no longer be tolerated.

That’s what the new year offers. An affirmation of change. The decision to alter a losing course or tweak a less fulfilling one towards the ultimate goal. And sticking to it. Yes there wil be starts and stops, hopefully more gains than losses, but in the end, we’ll be closer than we were.

So this year I take my resolutions further:

To hear what I’m saying and stop speaking the same rhetoric.
To take better actions to achieve the end results I’m seeking.
To feel good about small gains.
To follow through.
To appreciate that each new year brings with it renewed hope and opportunity.

This time it’s 2021- and don’t we all agree, it’s time for a refresh. Time to stand together and unify in our support for each other. Taking steps towards change and improvement that bring our world closer together- not apart. Approaching each interaction with purpose, because as we became acutely aware this past year, tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Hit refresh.

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