By: Abby Glaser, Community Advocate
January means many of us are feeling the pressure to set resolutions! We begin each year setting lofty, vague and often unattainable goals for ourselves that end up failing by the time the Superbowl airs! But what if we flipped the script and instead of setting goals for new things to do we set an anti-resolution: a commitment to stop doing something. You might be thinking that’s what you always do…
I’m gonna work out every day. I’m gonna write in my journal every day. I’m gonna stop smoking.
But these are all new goals to achieve and can often turn from inspiring to overwhelming quickly. An anti-resolution is ultimately identifying the things that need to change in your life and stopping the behavior that no longer serves you.
Here are a few to consider in 2022:
1. Stop saying ‘Yes’. If you find yourself regularly overwhelmed, overly busy and exhausted this may be one you need to practice. One rule that has helped me in this area is the reminder that every ‘yes’ I give is a ‘no’ to something else. So anytime I’m asked to do something I think through what thing I would be saying no to and weigh if it’s worth it. For example: if I’m asked to join a committee that meets weekly, I’m saying ‘no’ to a minimum of four dinners a month with my family. Sometimes the answer will still be yes but it’s a better-informed yes.
2. Stop letting social media steal your time. Social media is a part of life for most and resolutions to quit it completely will usually fail within days! That being said, there are ways we can manage it better. Setting up time limits, turning off notifications and removing social media apps from our home screen are just a few ways we can reduce our use. Social media is here to stay so the best thing we can do for ourselves is learn how to manage it well!
3. Stop letting things go without speaking your mind! Healthy communication can make or break relationships, both romantic and platonic. If you find yourself regularly not expressing how you feel to others one is for you! Holding in our feelings over time causes resentment, bitterness and increased stress. The good news? We can help you learn to do this! Learning to communicate effectively will transform not only your relationships with others but also your relationship with yourself!
4. Stop being available 24/7! Technology is a great thing and our lives have improved tremendously because of it. But unfortunately, it has also made the lines between when others have access to us and when they don’t blurry. We now carry a device in our pocket that gives everyone we know access to us at all times. Is it any wonder we’re burnt out? Consider setting firm boundaries for how available you are to others. Using the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature is a great first step. Practice enforcing those boundaries until it becomes natural. For example, this past weekend my husband received several calls in a row from a customer of his business. He did not answer the phone but instead sent a text letting the individual know that he would return his call Monday morning upon returning to work. We can’t control other people’s actions, but we can control how and when we respond!
Whether you set resolutions or anti-resolutions this year you can commit to being a little bit better than you were before! Even the small changes in our day-to-day life can have a big impact in the long run. Take a moment this month and reflect on what practices are still serving you well and which are not. You may find a few things you’d like to stop this year!
Encompass Connection Center helps couples learn how to resolve issues and create fulfilling, productive relationships. For many couples, those issues can stem from a lack of participation. Just like any problem, though, participation issues can be fixed. We offer a free relationship assessment to determine your relationship’s strengths and potential threats. For more help, look into our RINGS Experience, which includes marriage strengthening exercises and a coaching model to help build real intimacy and growth skills.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.