Time to reflect

You can create the change you seek in 2017

Patti Hays
Hope Jones

Love them or loathe them, resolutions for the year ahead can

be a powerful tool of introspection and self-discovery.

The practice of making a New Year’s resolution has roots in various cultures, dating back to the 18th century BC, when Babylonians made promises to repay their debts in the new year. Modern-day resolutions run the gamut, from immense goals such as starting a business or losing a significant amount of weight to smaller ones, like complimenting a stranger once a day or waking up earlier during the week.

A healthy resolution offers an opportunity for a fresh start, in a fresh new year, and can help inspire hope and forward thinking. Many resolutions fall by the wayside within the first weeks of the calendar, perhaps because they are too lofty or were made without much thought in the first place.

2017 is under way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make, and then stick to, a productive resolution or two.

Patti Hays
CEO, AWS Foundation

I don’t routinely make resolutions, but it is a time of the year that I am reflective. Jan. 1 was my dad’s birthday, so each year started with a kiss from him, wishing me happy New Year, and I would wish him happy birthday. New Year’s was a celebration as a kid and it is, since he has died, a period of reflection.

Any day of the year is a day to look at how you can live a better life. If it is at Thanksgiving that you are moved to be grateful and help others, or the thought of a high school reunion that reminds you how active you were at that time or even hearing of the death of someone that challenges you to take stock in a healthier lifestyle, then any day is a day for new beginnings. Resolutions are starting points. Don’t save them for Jan. 1. You can start something new any day you get the “tap on the shoulder” of inspiration.

A few years ago, I set some goals to help assure I would be more active and productive. At the time, I started making a list each year of each book I read. I have kept that habit, and it has encouraged me to read more. I will probably finish this year at 82 or 83 books. Any time you write down what you do, you become more aware of it. The first step to a healthier diet is keeping a food log. Write down everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that you eat; it is eye opening. Fitness trackers are great because they make you aware of how much you move … or don’t move. I have a friend who goes up and down steps at her house just to be sure she hits her 10,000 steps a day. The first step to doing something better, or different, is to measure what you’re doing now.

Start with reflecting and being grateful, then goal setting might follow. Too many resolutions start with a perspective of criticism. “What am I doing wrong?” Instead, consider what went well this year and how you can do more of that.

Hope Jones
owner, Cruise Planners Travel Agency

With a name like Hope, you know I make resolutions. While I’ve missed the “deadline” several times, the years I actually take the time to self-reflect and evaluate the areas of my life that need improvement or editing, magic happens. However, the weight loss goals never work for me – ever! I’ve discovered I don’t like giving up comfort foods in the winter months.

I believe everyone deserves a chance to press the reset button. Life isn’t perfect, and oftentimes, as women, we have to keep pushing, balancing a variety of personal and professional responsibilities, daily. In doing so, sometimes we forget our “why.” Making a resolution offers us the opportunity to recreate, refocus and revitalize our purpose. There’s so much power in that.

I’ve discovered I’m a visual person. Seeing my goals daily is important to my success. I create a vision board every year and hang it in a conspicuous place – it’s a great motivator. This year, I’m excited to create my vision board, using an app on my cell phone (Hay House Vision Board on iTunes, free). I also think it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people because a positive support system can make all the difference. No need to have friends handing you doughnuts when your goal is to live healthy. Find the friends who will replace that doughnut with a walk in the park – or a few laps inside Von Maur.

Beatrice Sawyer
Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist

I don’t personally make resolutions anymore, because I spent so many years working with my female clients, helping them with weight loss resolutions, and it became a somewhat negative experience. The resolutions were made with the best intentions, but the results were mixed due to the limitations put in place as a result of them. One of the positive resolution experiences I had with a client was in 2009, when I had just started doing rehabilitation-based exercise. A 65-year-old client wanted to get fit so she could inspire more joy in her life. Her desire, and perspective, instantly changed my approach to future clients, and it still affects my work today. I endeavor to create training experiences that make my clients feel good during and after the training, still challenging, but never painful. This client has transitioned from rehab-based Pilates to expert level moves on the reformer (Pilates apparatus).

My advice for anyone wishing to set a resolution is to add to your life, not take away. This simple shift of the mind will help cement the resolution. Make the resolution to walk every day, not to lose 10 pounds, or to eat healthy, rather than take away sugar. A resolution should be used to better yourself, your mind, body and life, not to create more limitations, pressures and challenges, which only lead to stress.

When setting a resolution, it’s important to remember it takes an average of 66 days to develop and solidify a new habit, so promise to stick with it through that period for the most effective results well into the future. And limiting resolutions almost always fail. Instead, add something in – a positive experience or life-changing habit, more worthy of the time and energy it will consume, especially this time of year when there’s a significant lack of all those things.

Heather Schoegler
president, Augustus Advisors

I have a tradition of not making resolutions. It seems to me through observing others, resolutions are regularly broken, making people feel like failures by Jan. 23. I’m not really interested in making myself feel bad for having another thing not checked off on my goal list. However, I do love goal setting and find that to be a very healthy practice at any time of year. For the last several years, I chose three words to orient my goals around. For example, “Generosity. Growth. Family.” or “Well-being. Connection. Adventure.” are some I’ve used. These words become a measuring stick and flag to rally decisions and actions around. Essentially, creating a theme for not just the new year but the whole year. They have been great reminders for me as I’ve considered opportunities.

Resolutions or goal setting allows each of us to consider what we want or need to improve on. Any effort that makes us each conscious of ways we can be better, improves us collectively as a community as well. A caring, well community of individuals is something we can all appreciate and strive to be a part of.

Be intentional about how you incorporate your resolutions in your life. Place visual cues throughout your life – artwork, computer desktop image, jewelry – can all give small daily reminders of your intentions. Find someone or a group of people who will create accountability for you. I’ve found this through one-on-one mentoring and even Facebook groups with like-minded people. Accountability and encouragement is key to getting any goal to stick!

More women share their goals for 2017:

Wendy Stein, partner, Stein Ad Promos: I want to stop being late. I was early or punctual for most of my life (having grown up in a family that was late for everything), and the last few years I’ve noticed it’s not unusual for me to be a few minutes late (except for things like movies and theater) and I need to nip it in the bud!

Michelle Chambers, business owner, Signing Closers LLC: 2017 will be a year of “service above self”! As a business owner and Rotarian, I’ll continue to serve the greater Fort Wayne community through my civic and volunteer duties to help improve the quality of life for those less fortunate.

Cheryl Fabian, Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation: Of course I have the usual goals of losing weight, saving more money, etc. I think this year I will focus mainly on learning how to give myself a break and relax more. And of course, continuing to make weird stuff with the Fabian crew!

Melani Wilson, partner in The Trove and The FIND: To spend as much time taking care of myself as I take care of other people. And to stay open to possibilities.

Sarah Hyndman, contractual grant writer: My goal is to become more engaged in local politics.

Biljana Ceresa, pharmaceutical representative: My goals include being an even better parent. I love time with my kids, but I want to focus on soaking it all in and really being in every moment.

Julie King, photographer: One of my goals for 2017 is to be a better steward of my time.

Betsy Perry Patton, stay-at-home mom: I’d like to hit the books in 2017! Amidst the chaos of work and kids, I have drifted away from reading books for pleasure. I have a tower of titles collecting dust on my nightstand and an ever-expanding list on Amazon. In the year ahead, I aim to sit with a cup of tea and get lost in their pages at least three times a week.

Crystal Vann Wallstrom, director at the Center for Creative Collaboration, Indiana Tech: My New Year’s Resolution is to explore the region more. We haven’t really left Fort Wayne since we moved here a year and a half ago. Recommendations welcome!

Laura Johnson, audiologist: I want 2017 to be simple yet meaningful. I want my family to have more experiences this year, rather than more things.

Need some inspiration? Take a peek at these healthy resolutions:

• Slow down, enjoy the little things, luxuriate in nature, pick up a new hobby. #YOLO, right?

• Find a mentor. Hook up with someone you admire, an accomplished person who can shed light on their secrets to success and who can help guide you to finding your own.

• Keep in better touch with friends and family. Set leisurely coffee dates and long phone conversations or commit to putting pen to paper and send letters through the mail each month.

• Get involved in the community; choose a dedicated cause or charity for volunteering or donating.

• Commit to moving more, not necessarily exercising, if that’s too hard or seemingly boring. Park your car in the farthest spot. Take the stairs. Go for a walk with your dog or your kids or spouse three times a week. Get (and use) a standing desk or DIY your own.

• Consume healthier foods. Pump up daily intake of raw fruit and vegetables and incorporate infused waters to get the recommended dose of water.

• Save money. Use direct deposits to funnel money to specific savings accounts (nest egg, vacation fund, etc.) so you don’t even have to lift a finger each pay period.

• Stress less. Take a meditation course, add a yoga class to your weekly schedule or simply take time to be alone. Quiet time spent in solitude is often underappreciated.

• Travel more. Take adventures, day trips, long weekends, etc. Explore your own city. These new experiences and sights can help you better appreciate the world around you, bring more gratitude and understanding into your daily life and reconnect you with your spouse, family or friends.

Get more sleep (there are so many benefits). Use the bedtime feature within the clock app of your iPhone, which will remind you when it’s time to turn in. It will also gradually wake you up with soothing sounds and help you calculate the hours you get each night.

First appeared in the January 2017 issue of She.

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