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Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Eve’

Resolving for a better new year.

In Education, Health, Holiday, Opinion, psychology, Uncategorized on December 22, 2016 at 11:55 pm

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By Gery L. Deer

 

 

 

DIH LOGOWell, the holidays are upon us once more and 2016 is nearing an end. It’s safe to say that the past year has certainly been filled with remarkable change. What did 2016 mean to you? Was it an end or a beginning? Did you experience triumph or tragedy?

If you’re like most, it was a mixture of both. Sometimes it’s hard to discern the difference. What some see as catastrophe, others view as a success. It really depends on your perspective. Of course, the New Year is always a good time to make a change for the better in your own life.

But be aware that most statistics show that only around 46 percent of resolutions continue past six months. At the same time, people who set a goal based on a resolution are 10 percent more likely to succeed than those who do not.

However you do it, in order to change your life for the better you have to get up and take the first step. And, sometimes attitude is everything where life changes are concerned.

You have to stay positive, dismiss the naysayers and keep motivated and moving forward. So, whether you start because of a resolution or just because you think now is a good time, your potential success or failure rests largely with your motivation.

Additionally, remember that you can’t force someone else to change either. If they want a different life, they have to take the steps toward that end.

For example, suppose Lisa is dating Mike and she’s having a tough time because he is addicted to role-playing games. Lisa wants to eventually marry Mike, but she cannot handle the gaming.

Lisa believes, however, that she can change him, help him to see the error of his ways. She believes that she can set a resolution to reform him with love – or a rolling pin (just kidding, she doesn’t bake – she actually uses a frying pan).

Mike is never going to change because someone else wants him to do so. If he wants to quit playing he will have to do it for his own reasons. I am certainly no psychologist, but I do know that for any New Year’s resolution to be successful, the desire to change has to come from within.

I may be wrong, but I think the motivation for change at the start of a new year comes from a deep desire in all of us for a fresh start. Most people want to strive for something better, no matter what our situation. Of course, there are still people out there who simply don’t care and are either complacent or resigned.

For some, the new year offers an opportunity to get “it” right – whatever your particular “it” happens to be at the time. In any case, it’s up to you to make those choices and follow through. If you don’t, you have no one to blame but yourself.

You can get things moving by creating a list of the things you want to accomplish in the coming year. For the record, I’d leave out a lottery jackpot and focus on more realistic expectations, like finishing your education or pursuing a career change.

Then figure out what it takes to reach those milestones and make a plan to get there (the “make a plan” part is pretty important). You will likely have a great deal of work to do and, for some at least, a long-term goal may require multiple short-term steps. Be patient, work hard and stay focused.

Incidentally, staying focused may indeed be the biggest challenge you face. The aforementioned plan is vital. Lay it out, be consistent, stick to it one step at a time, rather than trying to do everything all at once, and you can be successful.

A New Year’s resolution can be either a step towards improving your life or it can be a fruitless, frustrating endeavor that causes you stress and worry. It all depends on how committed you are to the kind of change you want in your life. However you do it, the choice rests with you.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Listen to the Deer In Headlines podcast free at MyGreeneRadio.com.

 

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It’s OK not to drink

In Education, Health, Holiday, Media, Opinion, Uncategorized on December 30, 2015 at 6:30 am

 

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DEER IN HEADLINES

Special Extended Edition

BY GERY L. DEER

(Author’s Note: The following is an edited repost of an article originally published December 30, 2013)

I have never hidden the fact that I don’t drink alcohol. When I say that, I mean that I really don’t drink, ever. When some people say it, what they are implying is that they don’t drink hard liquor, or they have a beer at a baseball game or something. But trust me when I say, I don’t drink. Period. I just wanted to make that absolutely clear so what follows carries the proper weight.

An alumnus of one of the oldest national college fraternities – Sigma Phi Epsilon – I’ve never had an alcoholic beverage of any kind – nothing. I didn’t steer clear of the bubbly because of some religious or deep, philosophical reason. It just wasn’t part of my experience growing up and, fortunately, I never developed the interest.

To be quite honest, at this stage in my life, the very smell of the stuff, particularly beer, makes me kind of sick. That said, drinking is a big part of adult social and business functions and thus, hard to avoid. But, for those who are trying to steer clear of the juice, for whatever reason, please try to remember that it’s OK NOT to drink. Really, it is. Still, I am well aware of how hard it is not to succumb to pressure from others.

Some people might think peer pressure is limited to the adolescent or collegiate years, but even as an adult, I know how much stress there is on people to drink alcohol at social and business events. Despite opinions to the contrary, it really is OK not to drink and here are some ideas for anyone trying to abstain but who still wants to feel included in the fun of the party.

First, and this is really important, you must be comfortable with yourself and your decision not to indulge. If not, then you’ll probably make others feel that way too. Ambivalence will probably result in your drinking anyway and it will be your own decision and not because of peer pressure.

Next, always remember – and young people reading this please, please try to hang on to this concept –  if anyone takes issue with you’re not drinking, or pressures you in some way, the problem is with them, not you!

If offered, politely decline, but don’t make excuses. After all, the offer was not made to offend you. It’s not a good idea to launch into some long-winded explanation, however, or rattle off a list of excuses about why you’re abstaining. Just say something like, “No thanks. I’d really like a cup of tea (coffee, soda, whatever), though, if you have it?” It’s polite and expresses your appreciation for the offer.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 9.10.33 AMLet me say that I don’t hang around with many people who drink and those who do rarely do so in my presence. Not because they’re overly sensitive to my choices, and I don’t expect them to be, but because I’m rarely in a position where alcohol is any sort of focus at all.

But, in some extreme cases, I encounter one of the most baffling concepts I’ve had to come to terms with in my non-alcoholic life is having to defend the fact that I don’t drink. It’s really kind of backwards to my own sense of logic. Someone gives me a hard time and wants an explanation as to why I’m not drinking and I scratch my head. Generally that person’s not really someone I would normally spend time with anyway, but the question is there, hanging in the air like an anvil.

Early on, I realized that many people who find out I don’t drink immediately think I’m some kind of recovering alcoholic. I’m not. Hard to get hooked… no, let me rephrase that. It’s impossible to get hooked if you never start. But still, the question remains. Truth be told, I think it’s ridiculous that the sober guy in the room has to explain himself while all around him people are dropping, face first, into the toilet bowl. I just don’t get it.

So, my next piece of advice is to never defend yourself. Once again, change the subject, divert attentions elsewhere or be appreciative of their interest and just say, thanks, I just don’t want anything. Regardless of your reasons, I guarantee you’re not going to change anyone’s mind or alter their opinion of your choices, and you shouldn’t try. Plus, I’ve learned when someone takes so strong an issue with my non-drinking, it’s generally because they carry some sense of guilt or other feelings about their own alcohol use and suddenly feel extremely self-conscious.

If you’re at a social or business gathering, carrying a decoy drink can help avoid questions from people – since most people are standing around with some sort of cup or glass in their hand. But, don’t pretend it is alcohol, in other words, avoid the mock-tail. There is no need to call attention to the drink in your hand, but you might carry a drink around with you.

Some people will advise you to accept an alcoholic drink and just hold it all night, but that’s not only pointless and dishonest, but could actually make you feel even more self-conscious. People will expect you to sip from your drink now and again during long conversations, so just have something else in your glass.

Participating and socializing will also help to keep attention away from the lack of a drink in your hand. Keeping busy will keep your mind off the fact you’re not drinking with the other guests and help you be more involved in the event. If, however, there is still a particularly high level of pressure on you to drink or be left out or ridiculed, you should extricate yourself from the situation and rethink attending activities with the same group of people again.

Regardless of other steps you might take to distract from your abstinence, never, ever try to change the behavior of others. A social or business function is not the proper setting for a personal mission or intervention. If you live alcohol-free because of some personal crusade, leave your soap box at home. No one will hear you and it’ll just serve to further ostracize you from others.

Once again, you have to be comfortable with yourself, but you need to accept that others have not chosen your way and booze is a way of life out there in the world. Deal with it. You, alone, have made the conscious decision to attend an event where alcohol is being served and to be included you must live and let live. Needless to say, if you see someone about to drink and drive, act accordingly as your circumstances permit.

Finally, always remember that there is no “down side” to abstaining from alcohol. None. Only good can come of it – that’s not something drinkers can say with any measure of confidence. When you don’t drink, you’re probably less likely to do things that have negative consequences. So, provided you don’t have some kind of a deviant propensity toward misbehavior anyway, you should make it through the event unscathed. Your social position may suffer, however, especially if you typically surround yourself with partiers. I say, it’s their loss. And to you I’d recommend finding a better group of friends – those who accept you for who you are, not what you drink.

Negative people have a negative effect on us. I have lost friends, girlfriends and even business associates because of my choice not to drink. “I don’t trust a man who doesn’t drink,” is a backwards way of thinking and a bit on the ignorant side too, I might add. I’d say, logically, it should go the other way around, but I’d end up having to mistrust pretty much everyone outside my immediate family. Maybe a proper way to say it is, “It’d be hard for me to trust anyone who thinks the bottle in their hand is more important than a friend or family member.”

Consider what kind of a “friend” abandons you because you don’t want to use alcohol? If you were always a non-drinker, it’s probably easier for others to accept because they know from the start. But going on the wagon, for whatever reason, can be challenging. Once again, just remember that it’s OK not to drink. Just be yourself. It’s you that should matter to your friends and colleagues, not what’s in your glass.

Gery L. Deer is an independent contributor to WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program. More at www.gerydeer.com

 

 

Let go of the past, focus on tomorrow

In Education, Holiday, Opinion, psychology, Uncategorized on January 1, 2015 at 1:48 am

DIH LOGOAs we come to the close of a tumultuous 2014, I am reminded that, as a society, we seem to be obsessed with looking over our shoulders with barely a single glance toward the road ahead. Using contemporary terms, our most common mistakes as a people might actually be labeled, “distracted living.” We are so focused on yesterday that we forget to prepare for tomorrow.

Someone much smarter than I once said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. The statement generally refers to preventing the recurrence of negative events. But if something good happened, it’s only logical that you would want to repeat that success. To truly progress, however, we must learn from the past while at the same time keeping our attention focused on the future.

Unfortunately, we are often more affected by the negative in life than the positive; a death in the family, lost job, financial struggle, and so on. People and events from the past have us constantly looking over our shoulders, dwelling on our sadness, sense of loss and nostalgia. But while they may provide momentary comfort, these feelings also tend to hold us in place and keep us from advancing to a better future.

clock-2As 2014 comes to an end, I implore my readers to look to the horizon and make an effort to work towards better things in the coming year. Life is all about making the best choices possible based on personal experience, the current situation, consequences of your actions and your own needs going forward.

Writers are generally encouraged to omit anything – settings, objects, characters – that do not serve to keep the plot of a story moving forward. To keep life moving ahead we must do the same thing by eliminating anything that keeps us stagnant.

First, you need to focus on yourself more. It may sound selfish, but it’s necessary. As someone who has had to help care for aging parents, I have learned that in order to help them, I have to keep myself going. Maintaining your mental and physical health is vital if you are to be of any use to anyone else.

Dismiss negative people from your life and don’t get mixed up in the drama of others. Some people exist solely in their own world, completely unaware of how their behavior affects others. If someone is literally exhausting you from drama or they’re incredibly high-maintenance, it’s time to cut them loose. You can’t move ahead if someone like this is always dragging you down.

Stop repeating pointless behavior while expecting a different outcome. Very often, we can get stuck in a pattern of useless behavior, always doing the same thing and hoping that “this time,” it will come out differently. But it never does and it never will.

Stop procrastinating. Yes, this is probably the hardest piece of the puzzle. How to do today what you can very easily put off until tomorrow. But if you’re someone who constantly complains about your situation yet does little to change it, procrastination could be a big chunk of the problem.

Most people find excuses to cover procrastination; “they’ll never hire me for that new job,” “that’s too hard,” or, “she’ll never say yes.” Get over yourself – and your fear – and take that first step forward. And yes, most procrastination is the result of being afraid, not of failure but success.

Finally, I’ve never been a big believer that writing down a list of goals does anything more than make you feel inadequate. “Self-help” nonsense puts so much pressure on goals that if you don’t meet the ones you wrote down, then you must be a failure and that can result in its own devastating effect.

Forget goals, but at least have an idea of what a better, more successful tomorrow looks like to you. In the end, the future belongs to you, no one else. Get off your tail and do something about it and stop looking backward. Happy New Year! Now get out there and make this one your best ever!

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, ohio. More at gerydeer.com.