One day at a time

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This year I have decided not to make any new year’s resolutions.
I was remembering previous years, with its plans, hopes, decisions and deceptions, and realized that these resolutions make me feel really pressured: there are objectives, dead-lines and strict measures.
As a Gestalt therapist, I try to be soft with my clients: most people demand so much from themselves or feel pressured by their surroundings, to be or do so many things. The idea of psychotherapy is to help them accept themselves, breath better and not add to their pressure.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

So, I’ve decided to apply the same for myself: I would like 2014 to be a time of serenity and contentment and that’s quite hard to accomplish if from its first moment I’m faced with a scary list of things I should do/refrain from doing.
So – you would wonder – does that mean never changing or improving anything?
Of course not: dreams, plans, hopes, ideas – all show us the way for growth, evolving, enriching experiences. But when they turn into huge to-do lists, they lose their charm and even some of their enforcing power.
Instead, I was thinking that this year I want to be kind to myself, take good care of myself, One day at a time, as they say in AA

Instead of telling yourself that this year you must lose 15 kilos, how about deciding that TODAY you will try not to eat chocolate and cakes, and when craving something sweet, take a date? And tomorrow you will try to do the same.
Instead of saying that this year you will quit smoking, you will decide not to smoke today. And if you really crave a cigarette, then wait for 5 or 10 minutes before lighting one.

Most of our resolutions are about habits: breaking bad habits or forming good habits. And habits take time, both making and breaking them: one day at a time (which adds up).
The difference between a long-term plan and taking one day at a time is that as an alternative to facing 20 years without alcohol, which seems like an eternity, I only have to deal with it today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Or I will take care of it, WHEN it turns into today. The same applies for going to the gym 5 hours per week, until I’m 75: today I will try to go to the gym (or better yet: chose a physical activity which I enjoy). Tomorrow I will see how I feel about the gym.

And so, if today I will eat a piece of cake, for many people, this would mean: “I have failed, so I might as well eat the whole cake”. But not for me: that’s not the end of my diet. That just means that today I won’t be losing any weight. And tomorrow is another day, clean from mistakes, where I can take better care of myself.

In Gestalt psychotherapy, we also have a “slogan”: Here and Now. It means we don’t have to look back at our past, where sometimes we didn’t fulfil some of our resolutions, or to the future, which stretches so long ahead of us, with heavy pressure of years to come. All we have is the here and now: let’s decide to be kinder to ourselves in the here and now, take better care of ourselves, one day at a time.
I have made this decision, for today, by writing this post. What about you?

From Barcelona, I’m wishing you a wonderful 2014, One day at a time.

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