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New Year Resolutions

Howard Todd-Collins

Grad.Dip.Couns.HS, M.Couns.HS, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Consultant MACA Howard is the director and owner of Men and Relationships Counselling. He passionately believes that given the right space and environment, men open up and talk about their lives in a way that empowers them to take steps to change. He has a strong connection to the growth of men, with over 15 years experience in designing individual and group programs for men and fathers as well as facilitating human relations groups. Go to > http://menandrelationships.com.au/about-us/consultants/ and Learn About Our Consultants – What We Do And Why

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Happy New Year! Here’s to a new, shinier you!

New Year resolutions are in abundance at this time of year.

Just as the stroke of midnight is greeted by a crescendo of fireworks, New Years Eve celebrations kick on and many people are full of hope and optimism.

According to a Nielsen report, the top 10 New Years Resolutions include:

1. Stay fit and healthy

37%

2. Lose weight

32%

3. Enjoy life to the fullest

28%

4. Spend less, save more

25%

5. Spend more time with family and friends

19%

6. Get organized

18%

7. Will not make any resolutions

16%

8. Learn something new/new hobby

14%

9. Travel more

14%

10. Read more

12%

Source: Nielsen

This is the time of year most of us work a little harder at self improvement. What’s your aim this year?


Polishing The Diamond

We are all imperfect, don’t believe anyone that says otherwise! We all have plenty of cutting and polishing of ourselves to do!

An effective metaphor for self improvement is that of a ‘rough diamond’.


 

The diamond represents who we really are, our true, authentic self.

The chunks and rough sections often found on a diamond are all our insecurities, self-doubts and fears.  A diamond can also have thick layers of polish.  This may represent how we look to the outside world.

Turning a rough diamond in to a shiny, polished gem takes skill, focus and perseverance. It essentially involves two processes.

  1. Cutting

Cutting small chunks off the diamond. The chunks are sharp, rough and too uncomfortable to touch.

  1. Polishing

Taking thin layers off the diamond. This creates the shine which provides clarity of light.


 

The diamond metaphor fits nicely in to how we can strive for self improvement.

Here’s an example.

One of the most common New Year resolutions is staying fit and healthy, in particular quitting smoking.

Smoking is completely inconsistent with the value of improving health.

‘Polishing the diamond’ of improved health with regards to smoking may include either or both of the two most important steps.

Cutting

This is a clear step. Stopping smoking completely. Some folk are able to go cold turkey on this one. It takes huge strides of perseverance, tenacity and commitment.

Polishing

This is likely to involve reducing the quantity of cigarettes. The behaviour continues but less often and less intensely. Catching the cravings for a cigarette and choosing a healthier option is probably the most essential of ‘polishing’ techniques!

Self improvement requires behaviour, inconsistent with your values, to stop completely or done less often or less intensely.

The following exercise is a practical way to begin cutting and polishing.

It’s adapted from an Acceptance and Commitment Coaching exercise and originally created by psychologist Hank Robb.

A retrospective.

I have no doubt you will have done plenty of cutting and polishing in your lifetime. I certainly have!

When you look back over your life, what have you cut and what have you polished in the following areas of your life:

  • a) Relationships
  • b) Work & education,
  • c) Leisure & recreation
  • d) Health.

Can you identify what chunks you have cut or how you have ‘polished’ aspects of these areas of life?

Look to your future now, it’s only just begun!

As you step into this New Year, what would you like to cut?  Or what would you like to polish moving forward in your life?

Using the domains below, focus on areas you know are too chunky or need more shine!

  • a) Relationships
  • b) Work & education
  • c) Leisure & recreation
  • d) Health

What kind of person are you?

The time, effort and energy to cut and polish behaviours that are inconsistent with your values will likely require continuous polishing.

What five or six words best describe the personal qualities you would like to develop as revealed by this exercise?

Please share in the comments section.

(Adapted from Russ Harris 2011 www.actmindfully.com.au)

Howard Todd-Collins

Grad.Dip.Couns.HS, M.Couns.HS, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Consultant MACA Howard is the director and owner of Men and Relationships Counselling. He passionately believes that given the right space and environment, men open up and talk about their lives in a way that empowers them to take steps to change. He has a strong connection to the growth of men, with over 15 years experience in designing individual and group programs for men and fathers as well as facilitating human relations groups. Go to > http://menandrelationships.com.au/about-us/consultants/ and Learn About Our Consultants – What We Do And Why

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Written by: Howard Todd-Collins

Howard Todd-Collins

Grad.Dip.Couns.HS, M.Couns.HS, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Consultant MACA Howard is the director and owner of Men and Relationships Counselling. He passionately believes that given the right space and environment, men open up and talk about their lives in a way that empowers them to take steps to change. He has a strong connection to the growth of men, with over 15 years experience in designing individual and group programs for men and fathers as well as facilitating human relations groups. Go to > http://menandrelationships.com.au/about-us/consultants/ and Learn About Our Consultants – What We Do And Why

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