I'm Just Say'n: New Year's Conundrum

| January 01, 2010
 

 

Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. E-mail Carolyn at cmagner@rrpub.com.
Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. E-mail Carolyn at cmagner@rrpub.com.

This year, resolve to go a little easier on yourself

 

 

 

 

Dear Carolyn,

Every New Year’s Eve I make a resolution list. By the end of the month, I have not accomplished one thing. By the end of the year, I can’t even remember what the resolutions were. Some of them, like “run a marathon” or “lose 100 pounds,” are obviously unrealistic. I can’t even walk around my truck without getting winded.

What’s wrong with me? Do you have any tips? If I could change anything about my life, it would be “everything.” That’s really sad, but true.

Kirk

 

Dear Kirk,

Well, let’s start with your list. I believe in baby steps. If you want to improve your health, begin a walking program. Don’t list “run a marathon” as your goal. Instead, write down your commitment to walk a little bit further every day.

Be gentle with your resolutions and with yourself. Don’t list “lose 100 pounds.” Instead, make the decision to cut back your meal portions. Or vow to switch from sugar sodas to diet soda. Substitute water for juice. Pick something that doesn’t sound so incredibly overwhelming and then … just do it.

I’m not saying it’s easy.

I’m just say’n.

 

Dear Carolyn,

I want to make a resolution for my husband. He’s a great guy in every possible way. However, there’s one thing that drives me crazy. He is always late. Always. He doesn’t mean to be, and he is always full of remorse and self-loathing about it. But nothing works. I’ve tried every trick I can think of from setting the clocks ahead to giving him the wrong time we are due somewhere. But it doesn’t change the basic fact that he doesn’t ever get anywhere on time.

Please help.

Jill

 

Dear Jill,

My theory about people who are chronically running late is that it is a lack of respect for others. He values his own time more than he does the person he has left waiting. I confess, I struggle with this loathsome habit myself. What works for me is to sternly remind myself that running late is a choice. Since I know it’s my Achilles heel, I pre-plan every appointment with the goal of arriving ten minutes early.

Have a chat with him about this. He sounds like he wants to change, and I think he can. Give him a thumbs-up when he makes it somewhere on time. Positive reinforcement: It works on dogs and men.

I’m just say’n.

 

Dear Carolyn,

When I think about my life, I have an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I see other people who seem to be living the life I can only dream about. I am alone, and as a truck driver, I live a lonely life. Over the years, I’ve lost contact with many of my former friends and family. I want to change this, but I don’t know how. With the New Year coming, I’m sure you’re getting lots of letters about New Year’s Resolutions. Do you have any hope for me?

Jake

 

Dear Jake,

I have hope for anyone who expresses a desire to improve their life. You have reached out to me, and now you need to reach out to a few more people. First, you need to make an appointment with a family doctor. Go in for a checkup and tell him what you’ve told me. Feelings of hopelessness can be a warning sign of depression. He can advise you on the many available options to help you feel better.

Do that right this minute. OK?

After that, reach out to a former friend or family member you’ve let drift out of your life. Tell them you’d like to meet for coffee or chat on the phone. You’d be surprised at how forgiving people can be when someone offers a sincere gesture of reconciliation.

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