Hey Everyone! This is Susan Regan and I’m back for my first newsletter of 2020! This first newsletter of the year is based on how to follow through with New Year's resolutions.
I'm now offering online talks and courses through Relationship Solutions Programs. I'm so excited about this, and wanted to share a free talk with you, for those who may be interested and are, perhaps, "Deciding: To Stay or Separate." Click here to view the FREE talk!
OK, now back to your resolutions...
I don't know if you're the type of person who makes New Year's resolutions, but I know I always have themes that are running through my years -- things that I'm trying to accomplish and achieve -- so maybe you do too -- and maybe they're not so formal as making them right on January 1st or December 31st, but if you are trying to change yourself and make some changes in your life, there are two things that I think usually stop people from doing that… procrastination and perfectionism.
So, I have a sweet, personal story that I want to tell you about… I used to sit with my uncle after the holiday, for a lunch, and he would always Xerox a copy of his New Year's resolutions and hand them to me and go through the list. I think it was a way for him to try to have some accountability. But, this particular year I read the top three and I said, “you know... I have a feeling those first three were on the last three New Year's resolution lists!” So, we had a big laugh about how he was putting the same topics on his list from year to year -- but never really accomplishing them.
So, that makes me think for myself that I too have the same things year after year that I'm hoping to accomplish and they still stay on my list because you're high value -- but I never really get to them. So, I'm thinking of the theme of procrastination and perfectionism as what's stopping me.
With procrastination, my tip to you is to notice the behavioral cues that you have of what you do when you procrastinate and make sure you stay awake for those cues and try to break through them. You know that Nike saying... Just Do It. Just try to break through them and do something different instead. It's not so much of an observation of how you're doing them but it's really to just do them.
The other piece is the perfectionist piece -- and that stops us from doing things. So, if we can't work out for an hour, for example, we're not going to work out at all -- or if we haven't been able to do our daily writing or save as much money as we wanted to, we're just not going to do it at all. But perfectionism can really stop us dead in our tracks and we just get numb to trying to make any change -- and change is hard. So, I hope (and I want to add one more tip) you can encourage yourself in the change.
Think about what it is that you want to change in yourself this year and give yourself a whole lot of encouragement while you're doing that -- watching for the procrastination, keeping your eye on the perfectionism and see if you can break through some of the blocks you've had from achieving these things in the past.
I wondered about procrastination and perfectionism coming up in your relationship. What are the kinds of commitments do you want to work on this year? What kind of things do you want to do as a couple... skills that you might want to have gained... or just different deepness and connection that you want to develop together. I wonder if you could take a few minutes at the beginning of this new year just to develop some goals for yourself and your relationship.
It takes a lot to have a deep and close relationship with somebody that you care about and it can also involve a lot of procrastination and trying to achieve a deeper connection because life is busy and it's easy to get off track and logistical with each other. So, instead of procrastinating, notice how you procrastinate as a couple -- what kinds of things that you do instead of focusing on your relationship and notice those cues and again try to do something different. Can you break through them? Can you spend different quality of time together? Can you promise not to talk about the things that are upsetting or just pure logistical and really spend some quality time together? What ways do you re-energize with your relationship? I hope that you'll take some time to notice that.
And then in terms of perfectionism -- sometimes we won't do something if we can't get it right. Our relationships can become kind of competitive at times -- either with each other or as we're noticing other couple relationships. So noticing the perfectionism in your relationship might be another important thing.
Things can get really intense when you rent a home and run a financial collaboration together -- so noticing where you need to ease up so that you can be more collaborative and flexible with each other, would also be really helpful for following through with the theme of perfectionism in your relationship. And one other thing... taking time to notice how your partner is trying and pointing out to them how you're trying to be a better partner -- to have a better relationship -- to live the life that you want together.
If you're deciding whether you're going to stay in your relationship or leave -- New Year's resolutions could be completely off the table because it seems like too much of a stretch to focus on anything but that decision. But what I want you to do is to put New Year's resolutions back on the table, because that's about focusing on your life and how you're moving forward.
There is a concept of compartmentalization -- where you can think about the relationship and the quandary you’re in or what's not working some of the time -- but the other part of the time, you really need to focus on yourself and what you're doing to build up your life.
So there is the concept of procrastination and perfectionism when we make New Year's resolutions and why we don't follow through with them. Your life is still going to continue after this decision -- either that you're going to stay a little bit longer and really work on the relationship so that it can stay together in a better and healthier way -- or you're going to find ways to unravel it, which is a process. But that means you're going to have to endure a lot of things and also work on your life.
Both of those things have to happen together (at least in my opinion) for you and for the sake of you to have some quality of life while you're going through something that might take a bit of time to decide -- and might be difficult to decide.
Perfectionism is not evaluating yourself and how you do something, but it's really about having a different perspective -- where you're just looking at how you're trying to have more quality in your life and have more compartmentalization -- so that you don't have to be struggling all the time -- and so that you can have different parts of your day that are for you and bring you joy and happiness -- and notice that.
So, my wish for you is that, in your process of deciding whether to divorce, that you stay connected with yourself, and develop some inner strength so that this decision is a part of what you're going through but not all of your life and what you're going through and I hope there's joy in a lot of the places of your day and your year.
Keep encouraging yourself. If you're going through a separation or divorce, it can be really discombobulating -- and a lot of people make these kinds of decisions, around the holidays, to separate.
So, if you're in that space where you're going through the rawness of the divorce, I still want you to find ways that you can focus on your life and the quality of your life. It might feel like making New Year's resolutions is way off the table because of the upset that you're feeling -- but I'd like you to put that back on the table and have some goals for yourself that you focus on your life and that you might see the pain of the divorce as one of the ways that you stop yourself from focusing on your life. You're still important -- even if you're going through a crisis -- and one of the things that I find is that if you have a way of creating a strong baseline in yourself of self-care practices and things that you follow through on to take care of yourself, you can get through any difficult time with the right kind of support -- but a lot of that support comes from you on you -- you actually following through with the things that you want to do to have a better life.
So, put those goals down that you have for yourself this year. Maybe it could be more than just surviving, maybe it could be finding joy in different parts of your life, maybe it could be finding hope in creating more support for yourself so that you can get through this difficult time. Whatever it might be, I really want you to stay focused on yourself and looking at how you might procrastinate and just give in to the issue of feeling depressed or desperate about your changing situation.
Maybe it's also perfectionism -- that if you can't do it right -- if your life can't be perfect, then you're not going to try at all. So, maybe work on getting the tries to be smaller -- that doesn't have to be huge gigantic changes that you make but it could be small, qualitative changes in your life just to make you more comfortable while you're going through a divorce.
So, I'm wishing you all good things in this new year even if you're going through a transition. Get the support you need, because support can get you through anything. I'm wishing for you a better life and a better year.
Procrastination and perfectionism can stop you from achieving your goals. Oftentimes, if we're having an intense relationship with our co-parent, it's hard to work on qualitative things -- but that doesn't mean you have to stop working on qualitative things yourself, in terms of how you work on your goals for your parenting relationship this year. And your goals might have to be in expectation with the other person. So how can you be a better parent instead of focusing on the things that you can't do with the other parent? What ways could you lighten up and be easier in your relationship?
Procrastination would be that sort of impossible depressing thought that nothing's going to change with your co-parent. But that’s only half of the story... the other half would be -- maybe the feeling inside you could change -- and you could actually just feel lighter and happier and keep that feeling with you when you're around the co-parent. That might be helpful for you.
Procrastinating might be just feeling really discouraged about the relationship and not wanting to work on developing that qualitative feeling within yourself -- which is that you're not going to let the relationship with the co-parenting tension get you down and stop you from being the person that you want to be or from having the life that you want to have, or the relationship you want to have with your children.
So remember... there are some key words there... compartmentalize your feelings and really strategize about how you approach the other parent (if there is tension) and then make sure that you have your own parenting goals so that you don't put a lot of expectation on the parenting relationship (if it's not a very collaborative relationship).
And for those co-parents who are having a good collaborative relationship... then just keep working more and more on these aspects of yourself, so that you can develop the relationship further.
The other part is perfectionism. Often times we feel discouraged because we can't do things the way we want to do things -- and when we're no longer with our parent in a couple relationship, we don't have a lot of control over that person or their life, so we have very little impact. So, we have to let go of perfectionism. It's only going to be as good as it can be (the parenting relationship) and that might mean that you focus on just really fortifying what you do as a parent for your child(ren) and keep yourself on your side of the fence -- really focusing on your quality of life and your quality of parenting.
I'm wishing you all good things this New Year's! All good things. Bye for now!
Oh! One more thing...
I'm now offering online talks and courses through Relationship Solutions Programs. I'm so excited about this, and wanted to share a free talk with you, for those who may be interested and are, perhaps, "Deciding: To Stay or Separate." Click here to view the talk!
Additional talks and courses will be coming available each month, so please take a look to see if any of these could help you on your path: View My Programs Page