Just heard a news item about New Year's resolutions-- and the slim chance most of us have of keeping them. There's a reason why the gyms always have January membership drives, and why the department stores showcase big "white sales": after the hangover of the holidays, we're all itching for a new leaf to turn over.
But it doesn't take long, does it--- till ingrained habits overtake our new year's resolve, till "hope and change" turns into smoke and mirrors, and we're right back to the comfort of our old routines, no matter how negative.
To really make a change in our behaviour, we need more than the desire-- we need the tools. The most successful changes result from resolve + support-- enough so that until we really lay down new tracks to follow, we have help. Anyone who's ever undertaken an ambitious diet and exercise program, or tried to quit smoking, knows that support is critical. Something on the order of several months to several years are needed until we truly have new patterns to fall back on.
The news item quoted a behavioral expert who reassured those of us who'd already flopped in our resolutions that it's typical, and to go easy on yourself.
I would second that, as I do in our STEP classes: our patterns of parenting behaviour are laid down though all of our experience, starting from how we were raised. Changing to a new approach is asking a lot; it doesn't happen overnight. That's precisely why the STEP program unfolds over the course of eight weeks, and in a group setting: we bite off a little change every week, take it home and try it out. When we see it start to work in our families, it makes it easier to keep pushing through. And each workshop has it's own strengthens and challenges as a group; individually, we can help each other improve on the weak points. The dynamic of the group is what helps to make the change lasting, and successful.
How are all of you doing with your New Year's Resolutions?