This year I hesitated to make any New Year resolutions. Why? Because for the last five years, at least, they remain the same:
Write the book.
Lose the weight.
The only thing that changed was the pounds I wanted to drop. They increased yearly. Now it’s 20 pounds! I felt defeated. Depressed.
But something has happened to make me feel positive in reaching my goals after all. When I took my walk yesterday, I put in my ear buds and tuned my I-Phone to The Peoples’ Pharmacy podcast. The show I heard had aired on December 31st and was entitled “Willpower Science.” For the next forty minutes or so I listened to Kelly McGonigal PhD, psychology instructor at Stanford University and a health educator for the School of Medicine Health Improvement Program, discuss reasons why we often fail in keeping our New Year’s resolutions. The take-home message that most attracted me was twofold.
First, think about what you really want. What you are willing to do to achieve it? And what will your life be like if it happens? Not just next year but in two years from now. How proud will you feel if you do achieve your goal? Or the regret you will feel not having made the change.
(I must add here Dr. McGonigal suggests small goals like exercising five minutes a day and increasing slowly. Success breeds success.)
Second, we need to feel self-compassion and self-forgiveness. When we slip up, we shouldn’t chastise ourselves and give up but realize we are human. Guilt and shame undermine our ability to get back on track.
Okay, none of this is really new. But the science behind these statements helped me better understand how willpower works or doesn’t work. Check out Dr. McGonigal’s web site and her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, And What You Can Do To Get More Of It.
It was serendipitous that I connected to this podcast. I’ll apply the lessons I learned so I don’t have to repeat 2012 resolutions in 2013.
I wish each of you a new year free of guilt and stress.
Be good to yourselves.
I’m putting off making a pumpkin pie for our Christmas dinner to share my delight upon reading Theresa Brown’s Op Ed piece, Looking for a Place to Die, in the New York Times this past Thursday. It’s a sad story but it shows how one nurse can make a difference.
If you doubt the significance of seeing a nurse’s by-line in such a prestigious newspaper, read about how nurses are nearly invisible when doctors write about health care. And check out my friend, Lois Roelofs’ blog, What do nurses really do?, that clued me into The Truth About Nursing, an organization founded by a nurse, Sandy Summers.
Here’s hoping that 2012 will be the year nurses are no longer invisible in the mass media.
Now back to that Pumpkin pie.
I was listening to my long time friend, fellow writer and nurse, Lois Roelofs being interviewed on the Laura Dion Jones Show from Illinois on WRMN 1410, last week. With my I-Pad up to my ear, I settled in a comfy chair in the living room of my daughter’s home in Raleigh. For the next half hour, my four-year-old grandson repeatedly circled my chair, lunged at the dog, and jumped on his eight-year-old brother who was playing Mario Kart and protested loudly. Besides ignoring my grandsons, I ignored the ringing phone and hoped no one would press the doorbell.
Lois wrote a book: Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self. Lois not only promoted her book but also discussed the special characteristics of the nursing profession. She told Laura’s audience that nurses are not just caring but use manual dexterity along with cognitive and social skills in their interactions with patients. “It’s an intellectually vigorous profession.” And the ultimate multitasking profession, I might add. Anyone who has been hospitalized will appreciate the benefits of a being cared for by a competent and compassionate nurse.
Lois and I met years ago in a baccalaureate-nursing program. We share the same irreverent sense of humor and the love of nursing. And the belief nurses have an important message to share with the public—how and why we make a difference. Lois does a good job during the interview to make this point.
Listen for yourself. Brew a cup of tea. Click and fast forward into the broadcast to 3:05 minutes and hear Lois promote her book and the nursing profession.