Friday, December 27, 2013

New Year, New You

Today is December 26th, the day when all the family festivities die down, our elf on the shelf goes back to the north pole, the Christmas cookies disappear (while still leaving those lbs on the scale), and the credit card bills start rolling in reminding us that we spent too much on the present that will often be forgotten.  We read articles about Seasonal Affective Disorder and pray for spring as we run from work to house to stay warm here in the northeast.  Winter can be a challenging time for all of us but the truth is it doesn’t have to be.

When I was studying martial arts years ago I learned a valuable lesson about my approach to life.  My sensei had an interesting approach to teaching children katas.  You see, Katas were the least favorite part of the class for the kids but we put a spin on it to make it a fun approach.  Every day when it was “kata time” we would yell (in an excited voice) “It’s KATA TIME!”  and the kids knew to yell back “oh boy sir!”( and jump up and down in an excited fashion).  You see, it’s all about habits. How do we train our brain to approach different situations? How do we respond?

I used to say that I was “not a morning person” and that I had seasonal affective disorder but the experience working with the karate school taught me to change my thinking.  I decided that I needed to change my approach and embrace things that were not easy for me such as mornings and winter.  So, here I am at 530am today on December 26th, forcing myself to wake up early and think about how I want to start my day while sitting next to the Christmas tree drinking my coffee and saying a prayer.  I could stayed in bed til the kids woke up when they would shake me and begin asking me for all the things that they needed…but I know that starting the day that way doesn’t work well for me (or for anyone for that matter). 

So, as the new year approaches I am encouraged to pray for a good perspective and healthy habits, habits that allow me to see Mondays as a fresh start to my week (instead of a dreaded day of going back to work) and the new year as an exciting time for reflection and of course opportunities for growth.  I pray for the ability to recognize that my life is a result of my choices and my perspective.  I can choose to blame others for my challenges or I can see that my life is the sum of my habits.  There are always opportunities for change and a better life if I choose it.
So instead of agonizing over Christmas being over and those long winter days,  I choose to celebrate boxing day this December 26th...a chance to get in the ring and embrace my life full of choices and habits that create a better life.