What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

I’m not much for New Years Resolutions. I’m into Everyday Resolutions. However, the other night I had a dream that led me to make a resolution. In it, someone told me that my wife is a ten and I’m only a five, and I have some work to do.

If you know my wife, it’s pretty clear I’d lose a beauty contest with her. But my dream wasn’t about her looks. Instead it was about my life attitude. When it comes to optimism she’s a ten (as is KD). We say they’re both “sunny side up”.  They have challenges like the rest of us, but when they’re faced with them they turn things around pretty quickly and head back to the sunny side of the tracks.

Shifting Perspective Towards Optimism/ Sunny Side Up

Negativity and Optimism , Whats Your New Year's Resolution, River City Counsel Sacramento CAMe, not so much… I’m a half empty guy.  And what makes this worse is that when I recognize I am, I spiral down and start obsessing about all the negative things in my life.  Pretty quickly, I’m ready to throw away all that is good about my life and hop on the midnight train to somewhere, anywhere, and not leave a note.

Fortunately, when in line for my metaphorical ticket, I come to my senses and take an Uber home and reflect on what is good in my life. I know I almost never talk about my wife in here, but she’s awesome: kind, supportive, fun, etc. And then there is the beauty contest I’d lose. Why would I throw her away?

And if you follow my blog, you know how much I love my boy, KD. He’s kind, funny, and sunny-side up. I took a picture of him at the grill on New Years and was amazed at how he’s my mirror image: he looks like me, was dressed like me, stood like me and had a towel tucked into his shorts just like me. I thought the other day how lucky I am that I’m still his hero. Why would I throw him away?

My career is exactly what I envisioned. I pay the bills (at least in part due to my wife who helps keep me focused and motivated and does all the books), and I work with amazing people who inspire me every day. As with any other job, it’s difficult sometimes, but why would I throw my dream away?

The rest of my life is also pretty damn good. I have good relationships with my parents and siblings and see them all as often as I can. I have plenty of friends. We own a pretty cool house in a great neighborhood. Our son walks to school and I walk to public transportation. None of it is perfect, but I have it pretty darn good.

And yet I spend most of my life feeling at a 5, which is beyond frustrating and leaves me seeking some solutions. First, I need to work on the way I think. As I’ve written this, I’m reminding myself that I have it pretty good, and when my thoughts head in a negative direction I should stop before I even put on my jacket and head for the door.

Healthy Self-Care

I also know that I need to practice the healthy self-care that I’ve talked about for years. For me this means getting enough sleep, taking an occasional day off, exercising at least 5 days/week, seeing friends, and getting out of town, even if for only a day trip. I need to have things to look forward to and enjoy when I get there. I need to be courageous and try new things.  I need to be more organized, because I know that when my life is chaotic I feel stressed and unhappy. And I need to disappear once in a while for coffee and my book.  There are other things and I need to do them all… And when I do, I feel much more optimistic. Probably not a ten, but I tend to lean towards a seven or eight.  Maybe there are some clouds, but the sun certainly has poked through.

It’s no mystery why I’m sharing this. For the few of you who already turn to the sunny side, celebrate your gift and continue doing what you’re doing and thinking. For the vast majority of you, I hope you take time and acknowledge the good things you have in your life. No matter how bleak things seem sometimes, there are silver linings, even if you need to stretch to find them. When you find your thoughts leaning in the negative direction stop them and remind yourself of the places you should be grateful. On top of this, reflect on your self-care. Are you doing the things you need to do to feel happy, calm and content? If not, do them.

Once again, this spouse, parent and therapist is doing the best he can to start the new year feeling more optimistic and happy.

Until next time…

 

5 Responses to What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
  1. Rene
    January 17, 2017 | 10:01 am

    Thank you for the reminder. I woke up dwelling on an incident that occurred yesterday that hurt my feelings and left me crying and depressed. Tossed and turned all night beating myself up over it. Today I’m trying to spiral down. Thank you, thank you for reminding me to focus on the positive things.

    Rene

    • Steve DeBenedetti-Emanuel
      January 17, 2017 | 8:41 pm

      We can relate! I hope your day turned around. Maybe a little gem will present itself. Keep me posted!

  2. Monica Christie
    January 17, 2017 | 2:35 pm

    I enjoyed your post! I want to offer one thing that might prove useful to you:

    There is a radio personality, Dennis Prager, who has a philosophical mind. He hosts a one hour show every Friday (I think at 10am, PST) called, “The Happiness Hour.” It explores how to be happy and barriers to happiness. The “why” of happiness is explained in the introduction: It starts with a premise that we have a moral obligation to try to be happy; that happy people make the world a better place, and unhappy people tend to be responsible for many of the world’s ills. I find it both fascinating and useful, and it has helped me in my life. One wouldn’t think he would have much to talk about each week; that he’d cover it all, but the topic proves to be endlessly diverse.

    Down here in LA it’s on 870AM The Answer; I’m sure it would be easy to find in Northern California. The first segment is sometimes a little slow, but the rest of the show often has callers who are very interesting. I hope you find this interesting!
    Best regards,
    Monica

  3. elizabeth
    January 17, 2017 | 3:06 pm

    Your personality and good humor make you seem like you are a 10…..

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