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Lai-Lai Jenkins Headshot

Show Me the Half-Full Glass

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A few weeks ago, I attended a New Year's resolution session led by two health coaches, Stephanie Cortes Cohen and Johanna Voss, during which this question was raised. They started out the session by having us turn to our neighbor, introduce ourselves, and discuss our 2013 resolutions. Right away the room was filled with loud chatter, however, a few minutes later we were met with dead silence. Why the change? The difference was because we were asked to write three things we did in 2012 that we were proud of. Why was it that we were all so ready to talk about thing we disliked about ourselves and wanted to change, yet we had absolutely nothing to say when it came time to discuss achievements and things we liked about ourselves? Why are we so ready to focus on the half-empty glass when the reality of it is the glass is also half-full? And why do we keep doing this to ourselves? Why is it come every December we all sit and reflect on the past year and think about how we can become a "new" and "better" person in the upcoming year? Honestly, what is so bad with the "old" you, the you from a day ago that because the clock ticked midnight on January 1, you needed to change into a "new" person?

Is it really that unnatural for us to see the good in a situation? Until Stephanie and Johanna pointed out how quickly one focuses on the negative aspect of an event, I didn't realize how guilty I am of doing so. Instead of focusing on the fact that I worked out twice in one week rather than the three times I had planned to, I automatically focus on the failure of meeting the goal versus the accomplishment of completing the task twice. Don't get me wrong, I'm not preaching mediocrity or that it's okay to not meet goals, I'm merely trying to say, "Give yourself and break. There's always tomorrow." Just make sure that it truly is tomorrow that you re-start the task, not next week or next year. It's easy to procrastinate, there's always another tomorrow, another next week, to make sure you don't let yourself cheat.

If you can't seem to see the glass half-full, surround yourself with people that can. Find a supportive community; look for people with similar interests who understand you and will be able to provide you with the encouraging words you need to hear. Bikram Yoga Portsmouth, for example, is hosting a Bikram's Biggest Loser competition where 55 people are committing to practicing hot yoga at least four times a week for three months. Taking this pledge is no easy task, Bikram yoga is a 90-minute class in a 105-degree room -- after factoring in showering and travel time, it's at least two hours. Between work, family, and life in general, this additional commitment adds a stress element to the participant's life. By creating a support group for the challenge, however, it provides a platform where participants can voice their fears and worries, and supporters can provide tips and words of encouragement. This support group, like many others, is available on Facebook. You can find support groups online, in person, do whatever works for you; by all means, use this blog as a forum.

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