How Are Those New Year Resolutions Coming Along?

One of mine was to blog more… like once a week.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm  I keep wanting to write an excuse!  I’ve backspaced several times because I… want… you … to know see?  I’m doing it again.

Change is hard, folks.  *RE-actions”.  We do them over and over again. Well-grooved neural pathways in the brain entice us to re-act with the familiar behavior instead of act.  Examples of re-actions?  Well, negative coping behaviors that do nothing to solve the problem and actually make it worse:

1) “Help me; I’ve gained weight and I’m so stressed out I’m eating everything I see”!

2) “I over-spent during the holidays; I know I did and I’m so anxious I can’t open the credit card bill because I can’t pay it, so I went shopping to make myself feel better.”

3) “I can’t help myself; you make me act like this”.

Blame has never solved a problem.  I’ll grant that it was likely reinforced as a child when we figured out that finger-pointing kept us from “getting in trouble”.  That is very likely the origin of blame.   Action—> consequences —–>learned re-action = blame.

Even the language we use implies the age at which we learned to avoid responsibility.  “Getting in trouble” is the language of a child.  To dismantle old re-actions, we need to understand them, and perhaps more importantly, understand why they do not work.  A much better way is to think and behave around what we do want instead of coping with what we don’t want.

I am here to tell you that a successful conflict resolution strategy is to take responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  Like any new behavior, weekly blogging included, we find it very difficult and stumble at first.  We may even “make up a story” that it’s impossible.  Anything new is difficult the first time we do it, maybe even the 2nd or 3rd, but with practice, we get better and better.

Reducing *reactivity* will improve life.  Keeping a commitment, losing weight, getting control of the finances, taking ownership instead of placing blame are all *actions* that are worthy of the effort.  And if we stumble at first, make no excuses, just own it like the adult that you are and try again.

Open the mail, close the refrigerator, open the dialogue and lose the blame.  The best way to lose any negative behavior is to replace it with something positive.  So when I say “close the refrigerator”, I need to ask “what will you do instead”?  Try going for a walk or writing or talking about the anxiety that’s creating the need to cope.

Hope this helps.  Blogging weekly is still a worthy commitment, unless, of course, I can find an excuse not to. 🙂

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