Re­flect be­fore mak­ing New Year’s res­o­lu­tions

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ALL the presents have been opened, the eerie elf is no longer on the shelf, and Santa is of­fi­cially in the off­sea­son. Now we ap­proach ring­ing in a New Year with an­other list of high ex­pec­ta­tions.

Jan­uary of­fers the lure of a fresh start, a clean slate to fi­nally fix that nag­ging is­sue in our life: wealth, health or self. But be­fore I teach you how to make SMART res­o­lu­tions, I highly en­cour­age you spend this week tak­ing time to do an im­por­tant step that is of­ten over­looked — re­flect.

Re­flec­tion is think­ing about and link­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, look­ing for com­mon­al­i­ties, dif­fer­ences and pat­terns. The goal is to pin­point pre­cisely the be­hav­iours you wish to ad­dress and be­come aware of how it ap­pears in all its ugly forms in or­der to ef­fec­tively prob­lem solve. With­out re­flec­tion, you are just shoot­ing out res­o­lu­tions in the dark.

True re­flec­tion goes deeper than, “I eat too many cook­ies,” or “I buy too many shoes.” It is se­ri­ously look­ing back and un­cov­er­ing what life ex­pe­ri­ences sur­rounded the cookie or shoe binge. Why? Be­cause, in the up­com­ing year, you’ll never suc­ceed at avoid­ing cook­ies or re­sist­ing an­other sale if you don’t know what trig­gered you in the first place.

Dur­ing this last week of 2014, re­flect in such a man­ner that it chal­lenges your be­liefs, val­ues, cul­tural prac­tices and so­cial struc­tures in or­der to as­sess their im­pact on your daily habits. Re­move the rose-col- ored lenses and face your re­al­ity to aid you in cul­ti­vat­ing res­o­lu­tions that will work. Imag­ine al­ter­na­tive ways of think­ing, do­ing and living in or­der to pro­vide a fer­tile ground for change. And write it all down.

If you have trou­ble re­flect­ing, use th­ese sim­ple ques­tions as a cat­a­lyst. you achieve your 2014 res­o­lu­tions? wa­ter be­come your de­fault bever- age?

•Have you built the habit of con­sum­ing nu­tri­tious food?

you cul­ti­vated the habit of exer-

cis­ing?

you had good rest? you feel phys­i­cally fit in do­ing your daily work?

you built the habit of spend­ing less than you earn?

you cre­ated the habit of sav­ing? your ca­reer progress as you wanted

it to?

you have a life mission? you feel ful­filled?

you hon­estly say that you are healthy?

While not com­pre­hen­sive, th­ese ques­tions at least give some ideas about how to bet­ter eval­u­ate the past year. Now you will be able to see which ar­eas re­quire the most at­ten­tion. It’s never too late to turn the tide and make a sig­nif­i­cant life change. If you weren’t happy with 2014 life re­sults, try some­thing dif­fer­ent in 2015. Don’t stay stuck. Do bet­ter. — Choose bet­ter.

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