Did you make any New Year's resolutions? Be honest. Are you still on track?
The strong-willed among you may still be striding towards your goals, but the overwhelming majority rush into promises that are doomed to failure because: A) we pick on the most difficult part of our life to change, and B) we set targets that seem achievable during the holidays but are near impossible when we're back in the real world of work, kids, and bills.
The result? We fall short. Inevitably, our health suffers -- physically, mentally or both.
A recent article on wellness, contributed by Facebook and Twitter followers, has some excellent advice for dialing down your stress levels through meditation and exercise. In this piece we want to take things a step further and make some suggestions that can reach into other facets of your life.
It's not a rule book. There are no "must dos" and no "wrong." It's a framework of ideas. Adapt what works for you. Recognize the challenges and focus on solutions.
If you're like most people, your promises to yourself are either already broken or under serious threat. It's OK, don't beat yourself up about it. Back up, review and restart. This time, however, make sensible, achievable goals.
If it took you all year to put on thirty pounds, don't try to lose it in a month. If you're a smoker, you've been subjected to one of the world's most addictive drugs. If patches or oral spray didn't work, try hypnotism, try acupuncture.
Whatever your resolution was, realize that the only way to fail is to quit on that goal. As long as you're working towards it, you're winning.
A few lucky people love their jobs. They can't wait to get up in the morning and get out there. Most don't feel the same way and work becomes a negative drain -- which is tough when it's something you've got to do five, six or seven days a week.
So what can you change? There are no easy answers, but can you define what bugs you in particular? Can you do anything about it? It can be something as small as bringing a favorite image into your workspace -- something inspirational or aspirational. Sometimes it's about focusing on why you're doing it, not what you do.
And if you just can't stomach the job? Look for another. No, it's not easy, but according to the government's own employment figures, things are improving. You might also consider evening classes or re-training. It will likely take a while, it might be hard, but a long-term view can make you feel a whole lot better about where you are and where you're going.
It's likely that your personal economics are strongly linked with your work, and your income has finite limits. Expenditure is where you have some measure of control. OK, so you've got rent (or mortgage), loans, taxes, etc., but reaching for another credit card application form isn't the answer. If you're experiencing real difficulties then organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and others are there to help. Reach out to someone who can offer proper professional guidance.
Is your home an environment where you enjoy spending time? It should be. Regardless of whether you live on your own or have a hoard of children underfoot, this ought -- however briefly -- to be your haven from the rest of the world.
A can of paint costs very little and if something as simple as giving the walls a fresh coat puts a smile on someone's face, it's worth every cent.
New bathrooms and kitchens are usually at the top of wish-lists, and there's seldom been a better time to do them. If you don't need to change the plumbing, then giving a bathroom a facelift needn't be expensive. As for kitchens, there are plenty of websites where you can get inspiration and such a wide choice of kitchen designs there's almost bound to be something to suit your budget. If it's a stretch, do a bit at a time.
The Whole You
Holistic thinking isn't complicated. It's the realization that each part of your life effects every other part. If you feel great about your job and your bank balance is OK -- but you hate your flat -- then your whole sense of well-being is disturbed by one element.
Realizing that is half the battle. Understanding it takes time to fix is the other half. Don't set New Year's resolutions, set whole year resolutions. Not only are you much more likely to achieve your goals, you'll feel so much better along the way.
Follow Greg Voakes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gvoakes