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What Resolutions?

January '10

My gym and yoga class are packed this time of year. The treadmill requires my name on a list and a sun salute entails negotiating arm space with folks on mats beside me.  As I wait (not so patiently) for a treadmill spot, I comfort myself with the thought that by March the crowds will thin, as people’s New Year’s resolutions retreat to the corners of their minds.

That’s a shame, because our resolutions usually involve some kind of self care.  We’re either focusing on physical improvement (I resolve to go to the gym 3 days a week), or mental enhancement (I plan to listen to ½ hour of books-on-tape a day), or emotional nourishment (I’ll join that support group), or spiritual development (I’ll meditate 15 minutes a day.)

At midlife, or in any transition when you feel stuck between done that and now what, self care is essential for maintaining the chrysalis that enables you, as the metaphorical caterpillar, to turn into a butterfly.  In fact, when you’re ready to reinvent yourself, life coaches usually recommend extreme, or radical self care.

Extreme self care means putting “you” at the top of your to-do list – in all aspects of your life.  This kind of attention frees up the necessary energy to reevaluate your days, and discover more about who you are and what you want.

If your New Year’s intentions are already evaporating, why not revisit your annual plan and revise it? This time, select just one change to incorporate into your life.  Make it small – you don’t want to set off alarm bells in your nervous system – the mere thought of change just ignites fear.

Then make it regular, so your brain creates a well-worn pathway and finally, be sure it adds to the quality of your life.  After 6 months, when you have assimilated this new habit, give yourself a well-earned pat on the back.

If you do choose to make one, small resolution for the year, I’d be fascinated to hear about it.  I haven’t made one yet and could  use some inspiration.

Happy New Year,



  1. Claire said on January 31, 2010:

    I am a huge fan of 43things.com, which I’ve been using to transform my life for about three years now.

    My 2010 resolution list is over yonder: http://www.43things.com/people/resolutions/Petersky

  2. Kay Flynn said on January 31, 2010:

    Bonnie – Charlie and I are learning to ballroom dance 1 day and week and doing recreational dancing also with other newly indoctrinated dancers.

  3. Roberta Taylor said on February 3, 2010:

    Why not make a resolution to be good to yourself? Perhaps that is a big resolution instead of a small one – because it requires thought – what is being good to yourself? Is it indulging yourself in the wrong things or is it thinking about the ultimate good (or harm) of each of your actions?

  4. Bonnie said on February 7, 2010:

    Hi Claire!

    Thanks for your recommendation for this wonderful site. I love your resolutions as well as your biking photos. While “visit Italy” again is not in my list this year, it’s definitely on my five year list!


  5. Bonnie said on February 7, 2010:

    Hi Alice!

    Love your traveling intentions! And India – I can’t wait to hear about your visit to this amazing country.


  6. Bonnie said on February 7, 2010:

    HI Kay!

    Ballroom dancing – what fun!


  7. Bonnie said on February 7, 2010:

    Hi Roberta!

    Yes indeed. Self care is the sine qua non of any successful year!


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