According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are stacked against you. I say out with the old and in with the new! A new approach, that is. Make resolutions a thing of the past and try my three rules for a Happy New Year.
Rule #1 No One Can Help You, Only You Can Help You.
Whether an individual or a couple comes to see me in my clinical practice for a health or relationship issue, the battle cry is the same. “Can you help me? Can you help us?” I respond with, “I can help you…. help you.” By this I mean, I can provide people with recommendations on how to deal with issues based on scientific evidence, clinical trends or my experience, however it is up to them to implement. Let’s take excess weight, a common New Year’s Resolution. First, in order to lose weight, one needs to change their mindset. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s about reduction of calories, low glycemic index and low carbohydrates and elimination of alcohol mixed with some exercise. 80:20 rule applies. Lisa was afraid to step on the scale. Many people fear “the number,” a culmination of a lack of discipline lit up in RED. Remember it’s only a number, a beginning. Next comes planning and shopping and filing up your refrigerator and you on the right vegetables, berries and low carbohydrate foods. I call it my “All In” Lifestyle Plan, because if you go “All In,” you’ll lose 15-20 lbs per month. And you gotta go, “All In.” Steve wanted to lose weight and did but only about five pounds after a month. He was frustrated. But he hadn’t gone “All In.” After going “All In” for two months, he lost 32 lbs. But I can tell you this until you’re blue in the face. It’s up to you to help you.
Go All In. Step on the scale. Start the journey. Lose the weight, save the money, change the job, hit the gym, go to bed/get up earlier…..
For information on my “All In” Lifestyle Plan, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rule #2. Stop Blaming Others
It starts in childhood. “Johnny made me do it” or “the dog ate my homework.” We continue this throughout our lives and in our relationships likely because we fear that our imperfection will be found out by our family, friends, bosses and/or spouses. In my clinical practice, I often see couples at a standstill in their relationship because of this blame game. For the entire appointment couples are not allowed to blame their spouse. It takes a while to change a comfortable behaviour but I’m still surprised when each starts out on a blaming binge. I remind them we only have an hour and ask them to take a look at themselves.
Take Sandy, a 40 something married mother of three whose husband had an affair. She blamed her husband Robert implicitly. I asked her if she had any role. An unadulterated NO. Sex is the tie that binds. Although sex is the last thing on the mind of a stressed-out women, conversely when men are stressed, they need sex (no excuse however for infidelity). This couple had financial issues too because of Sandy’s decision to work part-time and keep her nanny, against her husband’s advice. She felt responsible for her nanny and couldn’t let her go. Resentment built. Unresolved Conflict. Issues. Sex diminished. Months turned into years.
Two years. NO SEX.
When Robert went to work, vulnerability was written all over his face and he shared his marital discord with a female colleague who was only too happy to soothe his sorrows….in bed.
It takes courage, strength and humility to realize the role you play in the demise of any aspect of your relationship. Take a look in the mirror.
Rule #3 You Can’t Change Anyone, You Can Only Change Yourself
(then others change)
I cannot tell you how often I hear statements such as, “I thought I could talk him into having babies once we were married,” or “I want her to stop drinking so we can deal with our marital issues,” or,
Sarah who married an alcoholic because her biological clock was ticking and all of her friends were getting married.” And so on and so on……….
So here are the tough questions,
What made you think you could change him after the wedding?
Why would you want to be with someone who didn’t share your goals?
What else must you control in someone else’s life? Why do you stay?
Do you believe you deserve unhappiness in life? I can tell you, yes. But, you must believe.
I also tell my patients that no matter what they do, how hard they try, they will NEVER and I repeat NEVER be able to get someone to do something. If you marry someone who doesn’t want children, don’t set up a nursery. If consumption of alcohol is interfering in your relationship, don’t stand for it.
We teach others how to treat us.
But here are the REALLY Tough Questions,
How can you help yourself?
Whose fault is it anyway?
Did You Settle?
You can only control you. Be true to yourself. Walk away. They will survive. They may hit a bottom which is often what it takes. Rock bottom can be a great gift. Keep in mind, it can be a high, medium or low bottom, soft or hard. A gift nonetheless.
Remember, no one is perfect. Perfection is a myth. But authenticity isn’t. Be yourself. Be genuine. Be true to yourself. You’ll be happy you are.
“I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more.”
— Angelita Lim
Happy New Year 2018.
Maureen McGrath hosts the Sunday Night Sex Show on CKNW. She is a registered nurse , executive director of the Women’s Health Initiative Network, and in clinical practice in North Vancouver. She also does telehealth consults for people and couples all around the world. A TEDx Speaker, she is author of Sex & Health: Why One Can’t Come Without the Other. Her radio show is a free download on iTunes. Sextalk
Her website is: Back To The Bedroom
To book an appointment or learn about her “All In” Lifestyle Plan, email Maureen at: email@example.com