Dec 30 - Harm Reduction Treatment, -

STEP UP, STEP DOWN: A Kinder, Gentler Approach to 2015

‘Tis the season when many of us are feeling stuffed and stymied: too much food, too many late nights, way too many conversations with people we ordinarily don’t spend much time with. (And some conversations that we were glad we had with people we finally reconnected with.) We promised ourselves that we would go to the vegetable platter at the buffet before we hit the cheese (or desserts) tray, but the pork sliders got in the way. Some of us overspent on gifts despite the commitment to only give homemade. Some of us made Facebook and Instagram blow up with our news, insights, and creativity.

BUT NOW IT’S A NEW YEAR!! Time to renew our efforts, start fresh, make all those changes that will be sooo good for us. We’re going to lose weight, pay off our credit cards, do a cleanse that includes kale juice and no alcohol. Stay in contact with those new or old friends.

We are determined to make and keep several very good New Year resolutions. The painful reality is that we don’t usually do a great job at keeping such promises, but 2015 feels like the year that will be different.

2015 can be different. But it might take a different approach than going all out starting on day one. How about a smoother, easier, do-able entrée to 2015? How about not shocking our systems with dramatic changes? How about more or less rather than all or nothing? During this week and next, as we get over Christmas and cross January 1st, how about sliding into some changes, doing more of some things and less of others – practicing new things rather than jumping into total transformation at the sound of the bell? In other words, step some things up, step some down.

 STEP UP – some of the activities that you want to do more of over the next year: exercise, contact with friends, eating more vegetables. Instead of saying you’re going to go to the gym four times a week, how about starting with one, and reward yourself if you make it twice? And on up to four.

 STEP DOWN – the things that you want to reduce or eliminate: eat less, drink less, be less critical of your spouse, watch less TV, complain less about your job (or your spouse, friends, or the house you live in.) Instead of saying you’re not going to drink for a month, how about drinking on one less occasion per week, or cut back by 1 drink a day until you get to zero, if that’s where you want to go?

Try it out. This kinder, gentler (and more realistic) way of making changes just might work better than the old way. And you’ll feel more accomplished when it works and less guilty if it doesn’t. Because better is better, right?