by: Carol Ann Donnelly
Say No to Resolutions
The New Year is a fresh start. It is a new beginning. It is a time when we are most willing to forgive ourselves for the holiday indulgences. We stop rationalizing our excessive behaviors with the bulky sweater season excuse, and we start planning the upcoming year with excited determination. We hang our 2017 calendars with the commitment to get it right and we have 365 chances to attain our goals. We carefully plan our year by making lists of all we want to accomplish, and we make resolutions, often broken by month’s end. Instead of making resolutions, what if we just learned to say no to the things and people who cause us stress or that are a huge drain on our time.
Studies show that many health problems, such as heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, asthma and depression are related to chronic stress. In addition, researchers have discovered that chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation in the body which causes autoimmune diseases, diabetes and cancer. Yet, we continue to overextend ourselves in just about every aspect of our lives.
We are making ourselves sick by our inability to say no to others and even to ourselves. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish I hadn’t said yes,” as you head off to whatever you committed yourself to doing?
It’s not about saying no to every request, but rather when to say no. It’s about finding a balance between work and play—family/friends and self. Instead of answering yes or no immediately when asked to do something, answer with “let me check my schedule, and I will get back to you by the end of the day.” Give yourself time to think about it, and only answer in the affirmative if you have the time and you really don’t mind helping. Helping others and volunteering is actually good for your health, according to Helpguide.org. Volunteering can reduce stress and “can also help protect your mental and physical health.”
Another big time-suck in our lives is technology. We are always looking at our phones or our computers and other devices. There was a time, in the not so distant past, when we weren’t commenting on social media or forwarding jokes to our contact list or texting until our thumbs were about to fall off. In fact, in the not so distant past, trending didn’t exist and “texting” wasn’t even a word. Try having a technology-free day once a week. Replace the phone, computer and other devices with something you really enjoy doing, like biking or volunteering or meeting a friend or loved one for tea and conversation.
2017 is the year to get it right. It is the year to eliminate the stressors that drain us of our time and energy. It is the year we learn to say no to resolutions and say yes to living healthier and being happier.