The Raphael Remedy

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I love this time of year.  I call it ‘Reality Check’ season.  Our lofty New Year’s resolutions are still fresh in our minds, but for most, we’ve already started feeling deflated and discouraged.

This time is pivotal.  The New Year just began and we still have the opportunity to set our hearts to a time of new beginnings for our lives – a fresh start.

If you set your sights high- losing weight, getting out of debt, a better job, getting on American Idol, publishing a novel (Whatever!) – now is a great time to analyze, reorganize and readjust to reality.

Now, I know this word “reality” is highly emotionally charged. For most people, it’s a discouraging word. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Reality, after all, is what you make it.

What I’d like you to think about is this: simple actions or habits are the foundation for big changes. The key is to begin with simple actions. So before those resolutions fade into oblivion, let’s take a look at them and readjust.

Commit for the next 30 days to no more than 3 simple actions. That’s it. Just 3. It might be adding 10 minutes of spiritual reading to your schedule every day. Leave it there. Conquer that – make it a habit and then you’ll feel empowered to move onto the next one.

Are there simple things that can make your life easier? How about getting a key hook or bowl by your front door to eliminate the constant searching for your keys? An egg crate to organize your earrings? A hook in the bathroom to hang your shower cap? I know, would that all our problems really be that simple. I realize for so many people, problems come in much bigger sizes. However, to conquer the big things it often helps if we get a handle on the small ones. That feeling of empowerment on these little things will fortify you toward actually conquering the bigger ones.

Believe it or not, simple things really are the foundation of the really big changes that you’d like to make in your life. As a therapist for 24 years now, I can tell you that even the biggest family and marital problems can be conquered by starting with simple things. Try resisting the urge to get that last word in an argument. How about simply setting aside Friday nights for dinner with your spouse and commit to really giving your spouse your undivided attention that night? Perhaps make the same commitment to your children on Sunday nights?

If you have a big and lofty goal, congratulations! That puts you ahead of most people who settle for mediocrity. Without a goal to shoot for, you’ll never accomplish the big things in life. However, without breaking them down into simple actions, you’ll only wind up frustrated and discouraged.

So ready, set – GO!

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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