Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making Changes on Days of Celebration

With Tax Day over, this week is a time for family celebrations - Passover for some, Easter for others, and Earth Day for everyone. Earth Day is celebrated this Friday, April 22, as a means of teaching about and appreciating the Earth's environment.

In the wake of these tornadoes, seismic activities, tsunamis and radiation leaks this spring, we all are struck by the realization that changes in the Earth can come in many ways. They can be gradual or sudden and violent. They can come from the forces of nature or from the actions of human beings. They can be unexpected and out of our control or planned and anticipated. In either case, the havoc they reap can affect millions. The effects of the tsunami in Japan have impacted the economy and may continue to do so for weeks to come.

So how then do we come to terms with the tremendous power of Mother Nature? Given the current discussions about whether or not the globe is actually warming - and, if so, whether it's due to man or the earth itself - you may be left feeling confused and overwhelmed. On Earth Day, you can acknowledge the power of nature and still recognize your role in the process.

And in your personal life, you can use these same techniques. Focus on what you can control in your life and what you can accomplish, not what you can't. While you often can't influence circumstances, you can control how you handle them. Clearly define your goals or aspirations and keep focused on them. Letting go of negative thoughts and unrealistic expectations can free you up to make something positive come out of a negative situation.

In the heat of the moment, enthusiasm for making a change - protecting the earth, creating better family relationships, making the world a better place, loosing those stubborn extra pounds - can be great. But what happens the next day? How can you build on your decision to improve? How do you actually vary your routine and transform yourself? Inspiration is not enough - now you need to implement your choice in a clear and definite way. Here are 8 tips on how to go about it:

Acknowledge your ability to change. Recognize that there may be limits to what you can accomplish but that you can take it one baby step at a time. Give yourself permission to begin the process by setting a realistic goal and without expecting perfection in your results.

Write out specific goals for yourself and break them down into smaller, more manageable short-term objectives. Set up a timeline for tackling each task. The more you formulate your plans and establish concrete steps, the greater the likelihood that you will follow up on them.

List your personal resources and inner strengths - they will help you attain your objectives and eventually achieve your goals. Draw on them as you have when you made other changes in your life.

Make a public commitment to the change you are pursuing. This will help you take yourself and your decision seriously and increase your motivation to continue the process even when you face barriers along the way.

Maintain your energy by rewarding yourself for each objective you accomplish even as you keep your focus on the future goals you are striving toward. Positive reinforcement will keep you motivated to continue your process of change.

Draw on the support of family and friends. They want you to succeed and will give you the help you need. Join with others who have similar goals - having someone share your journey makes the whole process more enjoyable.

Don't beat yourself up when you backslide. Change can be overwhelming and you need to be patient with yourself. Refine your strategies as you learn from your mistakes. Have a Plan B ready and continue to improvise as you discover what works best for you.

Enjoy the satisfaction and feelings of power that come from making real changes. You've earned it! And you can use your new skill set to achieve success in other areas of your life as well. If you're a Sandwiched Boomer, resolve to use these tips to take better care of yourself.

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