Starting Over At Midlife: A Fresh Look at Resolutions

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Karen Fisher-Alaniz is a freelance writer and published author. She holds a master's degree in education and taught special education for 14-years. She is a frequent speaker on veteran's issues, and teaches workshops on memoir writing. She teaches a life story writing course at her local community college. At midlife, she found herself dealing with health issues, divorce, and the loss of a job she loved. She shares her journey of starting over at midlife on 8 Women Dream every Sunday morning. Her dream is to build a writing life, and find her writing voice, while restoring her 100-year old home. She dreams of writing best-selling books in her own voice. Karen lives in the pacific northwest with her family.
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Starting Over At Midlife: A Fresh Look at Resolutions One step at a time starting a new path

Resolutions: one step at a time

According to a Forbes Magazine article,  just 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. And of that 40%, only 8% actually achieve their goals. That’s a dismal and discouraging statistic.

So, why bother? And on more of a personal level, why do I keep torturing myself by making the same resolutions over and over again – expecting that this time something will change? That’s what was on my mind when I wrote last weeks post, “Starting Over: a Message From my Younger Self.”

Aiming high is one thing, but if you fail to hit that high-flyin’ goal, why keep approaching it the same way . . . over and over again?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

After listening to the podcast, 7 Essential Questions to ask Yourself in 2015, I started thinking.

What if I did something different this year? What if I posed questions instead of stating goals/resolutions?

My mind made up, I created a plan. I came up with a question for each of three different areas of my life;  health, home, and writing. Next, I decided on a baby steps to take for each one – steps that would lead me closer to answering each question.

Using myself as the test subject, here’s how the starting over at midlife plan looks;

Questions to Answer in 2015

1. Can I achieve weight loss and renewed health through small lifestyle changes?

Why:  I want to know if lifestyle changes really work.

First Steps: For the month of January, I’m making two small changes in my daily activities. One is to use my Striiv pedometer to track 5,000 steps a day. The other is to close the kitchen down a few hours before bedtime (ie: stop late night eating).

2. Is it possible to make my house a home while sticking to a tight budget?

Why: Because home is where it all begins but I don’t have a lot of money to spare.

First Steps: Pinterest is a great place for ideas, so I’ll start there and see where it leads me.

3. Can I finish writing and then publish my current Work-In-Progress (WIP) in 2015?

Why: The turmoil of my personal life is finally settling. It’s time to focus, but it’s more than that. I need new tools in my toolbox.

First Steps: Search for and implement systematic ways to tackle a large and complicated project.

Now it’s your turn.

First: ask yourself 5 questions;

• What areas of my life do I want to work on?

• What’s important to me?

• Are there areas of my life where I keep repeating the same steps even though it isn’t working?

• What needs to change?

• What areas am I willing to put the work into?

Next: choose 1-3 areas of your life that you want to work on.

• Carefully pose a question for each area. State the question so that it will propel you to look for answers.

• Ask yourself why this question/answer is important to you.

Last: take a few days to formulate a first step toward finding an answer to each question.

• Remember you have 12-months to find the answers you seek, so break things into small chunks of time – a few weeks or a month at a time.

The No Fail Rule:  if you implement a step toward answering your question and it doesn’t work, that is NOT failure! It’s simply a step that you now know won’t work for you. Tweak that step or create a different one altogether and move on.

This is not a pass/fail system. Simply move forward. That’s all that is required.

What questions do you want to answer this year? How do you want to start over?

Karen Fisher-Alaniz
Hitting the reset button at midlife

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