Reflections, with Sue Tredget
Sue Tredget is a French and Spanish teacher at PLC. She is also a published author and beyondblue ambassador. In her monthly ‘Reflections’ article, she shares insights and experiences from her own wellbeing journey.
February: New Year’s Revelation
I read an interesting article at the dawn of 2020 about New Year’s resolutions. Apparently they don’t work for Meghan Markle. Looks like she’s doing OK. Has a pretty good life, starred in one of the most popular TV shows of the decade and has found her prince, albeit one who is no longer an HRH – but that’s a whole other story!
I also remember turning on the TV on New Year’s Day last year to find a life coach telling me that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work for most people. He then proceeded to outline 10 things we should be doing in the new year and 15 things we must not do, along with numerous strategies and ideas for goal setting, vision creating and dream following.
I turned the TV off. It was all too much. Sometimes less is more.
Words of Wisdom
On the same day a dear friend sent me a piece by Paul Coelho. I had read it before and loved it. It was a timely reminder, a perfect refresher, it was just what I needed to read at just the right time. Here are a few extracts:
‘Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.’
‘Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.’
‘Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were and change into who you are.’
It’s all good stuff, but the emotional television part resonated particularly strongly. I need to resist the temptation I sometimes get to turn it back on, even briefly. Sometimes I have a sneak peek, I get sucked in to some old and tired plot line that fascinates nonetheless. It never does me any good.
As for New Year’s resolutions, studies have shown that less than 25% of people stay committed to them after just 30 days, and less than 8% accomplish them (how are you doing so far?). This is because resolutions tend to be broad and vague – for example, ‘be more healthy’ – rather than specific and actionable – ‘schedule three gym sessions per week’; ‘be in bed before 10 pm each night.’
The key is to break your goals down into clear and manageable steps so they don’t become overwhelming. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to accomplish them. Consistency is important too. If you only work on your goals sporadically, you are unlikely to stay with them and see results. As with study, make working on your goals a regular habit and they will become a natural part of your daily routine.
Amidst the setting of personal goals and resolutions, we would do well to remember that many in our country are starting the year having lost everything, and that the world faces numerous challenges as we move into a new decade.
Now more than ever we need to broaden our New Year’s resolutions beyond ourselves, to focus on community rather than self. My hope for this decade is that we will all resolve to tread more lightly on the planet.
And we don’t need to wait for the New Year to come around to set out on a new path, to change our behaviour, to establish better habits. We can do this on any day of the year.