As sandwiched boomers, you’re regularly bombarded by tasks involving aging parents and growing children. At the same time, you’re balancing responsibilities at home with those at work. And that’s not mentioning your commitment to stay healthy, lose weight and exercise. Just thinking about your hectic lifestyle can stop you in your tracks. If you’re in this predicament and feeling the time crunch, follow these guidelines:
Give yourself an emotional break.
Take a deep breath and let go of negative thoughts about getting stuff done. Actively dispute the notion that you’re lazy or can’t get a handle on the process. Choose a simple affirmation that rings true, like ‘yes I can’ – and repeat it often, out loud and with conviction. Watch what happens.
Make a start, any start.
Buy a journal or borrow a notebook your son isn’t using and do your homework. Write out specific goals and break them down into more manageable short term objectives. What will achieving them mean to you? Consider your character strengths and personal resources that will help you achieve your goals.
Create daily to-do lists.
If an exercise program is your ultimate goal, begin by penciling in a 20 minute walk twice a week after carpool or during lunch hour. Organizing and planning will help you turn your desire into a routine. The more you concretize what you intend to do, the greater the chances that you’ll follow through.
Lower your expectations.
And don’t expect anything near perfection. Actually, there is no perfection, so relax. Start out small and be satisfied with baby steps. If Aunt Bess has moved into the nursing home across town, your only choices aren’t either to go daily or not at all. Pile the kids in the car one Sunday a month and enjoy an hour in the park with her and your family.
Give up the pleasure principle.
That is, having exactly what you want when you want it. Next time you eat out, instead of finishing off with apple pie, visualize a thinner you in that little black dress at your upcoming high school reunion. Delay immediate gratification for future goals. You’ll feel better about yourself and that will nourish you way beyond your last bite of dessert.
Make a public commitment.
By telling family about your intentions, you create a stronger reality that will keep you feeling motivated. Engage friends in your pursuit of getting into better shape – talk with a colleague about going to the gym together a couple of times a week.
Savor your new-found power.
Positive reinforcement is part of any behavior modification program. So reward yourself for a job well done and choose an activity that nurturing activity like a massage. This attitude will sustain you as well as promote greater self care – and as your goals take shape, you’ll shape up.
With so much on your plate, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. If some days you don’t follow through with your plans, let it go. Don’t let frustration sap your enthusiasm. Look well beyond the present moment – resolve that you’re making progress and each day is a new opportunity.
© 2012, Her Mentor Center
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