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New year, new you

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008


It’s that time of year again. But instead of simply going through the motions and creating an average list of New Year’s resolutions (how many times can you vow to get organized or lose weight?), take a fresh approach. Resolve to make yourself whole on a deeper level. As a result, you’ll notice positive changes in everything from work and relationships to free time and physical health. We asked Kelley Black of Balancing the Executive Life, a New York-based company, and Lisa Renee Anderson, a career and life coach in Eugene, to come up with five meaningful resolutions.

  1. Master your own breath. Because your breathing shortens and quickens when you’re under stress, making you less efficient, practicing a few basic breathing exercises will help you stay sharp, focused and in control under any circumstances. “It’s a powerful tool that makes you less reactive,” Black says. “Not only does your physiology change with each breath, but your mind gains a neutral point from which to function.”
  2. Take time for personal and spiritual development. “People tend to get two-dimensional, especially in the business world,” says Anderson. “By taking time for yourself and reflection, you become a complete person.” Your version may include learning a new language, attending church, going for a run or reading an inspirational book.
  3. Create time for professional development. Get out of career slumps by signing up for training on your own, apart from your company. “Get excited about something work-related again in your own way,” Anderson advises. “It’s important to reinvigorate your passion and curiosity.”
  4. Be still for some amount of time every day. “Think about being still for just three, five or seven minutes,” Black recommends. “Just sit and connect with your breath and yourself.” By indulging in a few minutes of quiet, you’ll clear your mind and your body. Try it before going to bed to make peace with the day and enjoy a deeper sleep.
  5. Learn when to hang in there and when to quit. People tend to fall into one of two categories, explains Anderson. Either they quit at the drop of a hat or hang in for way too long. By learning to evaluate your circumstances, you can become the happy medium. “It’s a simple skill that can be developed,” she says.

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