The Art of the New Year’s Resolution

Taking stock, taking a moral inventory, as the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book would say, seems an appropriate approach to New Year’s resolutions.  I have challenged you and myself in regards to goal setting, care taking and usefulness, but taking a moral inventory is something deeper; something possibly spiritual.

In order to take a moral inventory one must look inward.  As a mother, the first place I begin is in a very deep and heart wrenching place; parenthood.  Not that being a parent was not the greatest gift and happiest time of my life, but as any parent will tell you it is nothing if not a guilt ridden institution.  The what-if’s and if-only’s can become a lifetime burden.  Hind-sight is twenty-twenty as they say, and in my case ever so.  I often tell my husband, “I wish I could do it all over again, knowing what I know now, having lived what we have lived.”  My husband, ever the man to not look in the rear view mirror, retorts, “look at how amazing our children are, if not for the mistakes and life experiences they had, good or bad, they would not be who they are today.”  He is correct and on some level his words calm me, and I move on.  But I still ask; did it have to be so hard, did they have to learn their lessons due to our inequities – because of us?

If someone were to ask me what the number one thing I would change if I could go back.  The answer would be to recognize my own power.  If I had known the power I had as a woman, as a mother, as a partner;  I would have made better choices.  I might not have compromised quite as much and stood firm on things that might have worked out better for me and therefore my family.  As I realize this I am aware that, unfortunately, this is still the disease of many relationships. 

It begins in our families of origin.  We feel “less than” in so many ways.  We may not have received the positive messages we should have.  We possibly failed to learn to love ourselves in the best way possible.  This leads to compromising of what we know inside to be best, in order to satisfy “other.”  This is equally true of both members in a relationship. It is not gender unique!  There will be times in the relationship when one partner may have more power and later it may be the other.  Or, there may be specific areas where each partner is more powerful.  Combine this with poor communication skills and what you have is a formula for the very least trouble and the very worst disaster.  It is a miracle we survive fifty percent of marriages!  Maybe we need to be a little more proud of our successes when relationships last, as they certainly are a testament to fortitude if nothing else.

Now, after many years, I marvel at our ability, my husband and myself, to talk openly about the inequality that existed in the past.  Experience has enabled our ability to dictate the “new” rules of our relationship.  There is a kinder gentler approach tempered by time and maturity. If only I had known then what I know now?  But then again…maybe my husband is right.  I also would not be who I am today if not for the trials and tribulations of our past.  As I have often quoted in the past Limp Bizkit says it best, “life is a lesson, and you learn it when you are through.”

 So this year I resolve to look forward and vow to use experience to make the better choice but to embrace the past as my best teacher.    


Written by:
Tara Ubelhor M.Ed., LPC

The Art of Promises

As I enter this holiday season, I remind myself of my challenge to eat right, to exercise and to do kind actions for others.  The season is full of activities conducive to being kind to others.  I have opportunities galore to fulfill that portion of my challenge.  However these months filled with gatherings of family, colleagues and friends, I am reminded of my early battle to stay true to the other goals that are just about me.

Even in the most difficult circumstances, I fend for myself.  I know how to work hard, how to be creative, how to set financial and societal goals.  I have built a strong network of family and friends who nurture me.  But, I still have one big dragon to slay; the eternal battle with myself. 

This dragon has no people who distract me from myself, no people whom I can blame for my lack of success, no people who make me feel noble because I am “doing it for someone more important than I am.”  This dragon is the part of me that doesn’t think that doing things for just myself is worthy of time or energy.  It’s the most difficult battle of all.

Like most, I accepted the challenge and set my goals.  I began the journey with small goals to build my success.  I have had some success incorporating some new strategies into my daily life.  Some have even become habits.  I now set my work clothes out each evening; I shop for dietary needs; I juice for the week.  Others, however, like finishing my evening tasks early so I can make time in the morning for a new yoga routine has failed.

I wonder why I sabotage my own effort?  Why do I stop just short of certain success?

Exercise is  an anathema to me.  I have rotated routines, joined gyms, bought various pieces of work out equipment, and filled my I-Pod with multiple workout mixes -- as have most of us.  This is not to say that over the years I have not had some success.  I have worn out two small trampolines and have a “gym-pac” mounted in my house I have used off and on for weight workouts for over 30 years.  But, as of yet the person who incorporates exercise on a daily basis for their entire life -- life style change -- has eluded me.  I still want to be that girl.  The one you see in the movies, or at your local whole foods store or yoga class.  The one who carries her bottle of “very cool” water and yoga mat as if it were an appendage?  You just know that woman eats, breathes, and lives a healthy lifestyle.  Her body shows it and I am enamored – think Jennifer Aniston.

I know these images are not reality.  Jennifer Aniston gets paid -- and paid well -- to make her body a temple.  But the fact remains, she has done it, continues to do it and shows the world what 40’s and fabulous is all about.  As I come to yet another birthday I have made a promise to myself to not accept from myself what I would not accept from others.  I will prioritize my goals and myself.  I will stop the self-sabotage and prove to myself once and for all I can achieve a lifetime goal for myself. 

I would like to say that my goals are not the utopian goals of all women nor should they be.  I am using my experience as an example of any goal we make to ourselves. We need to stop, recognize the gains we have made; the wondrous accomplishments of our life and utilize that strength to propel us to the next level in order to accomplish whatever our most important self-goal may be. 

So to you readers, I recommit myself and challenge you to do the same.  Take your defeats and throw them away.  Remind yourself of the parts of your goal you were successful at, eliminate the excuse that gets in the way and do for yourself what no one else can.  Love yourself to the fullest utilize your greatest strengths and achieve your greatest self.


Written by:
Tara Ubelhor M.Ed., LPC