Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, I am not a doctor or therapist, I am just a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experience in the hope it may help you. Please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). Please note that I only recommend books and products that I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart. At the end of each post, I will be recommending through links the books and other products I personally use to connect with my authentic self.

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In my experience, New Year’s resolutions and bipolar do not seem to mix well. On January first we say we are going to stop doing this or start doing that with the best intentions. One week into the new year we are back to being our old selves with our same old lives. Why is that? Over the past few years, I came to understand why this always seemed to happen and how to change things so I can keep my New Year Resolutions.  Hopefully what I share will help you keep yours as well.

What is a New Years Resolution? For most of us it is a statement, a statement that we are going to change something. My general practitioner was an old guy who had seen me since I was ten years old. Therefore, he knew me quite well and also could say things to me that most wouldn’t dare.  In our conversations about starting or stopping habits such as smoking and exercise, he said something that has stuck with me all these years.

He said, “Your word isn’t worth much is it?”

That hurt, but it was true. I would say that I would do this or start that and then either nothing happened, or it happened for a while and then fell away.

The first lesson that I learned was that even with the best intentions just saying something, making a statement is not enough. So, I went to the dictionary and learned that there is a great distinction between a statement and a resolution.

A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”

Whereas, a statement is understood to mean: “a meaningful declarative sentence that is true or false.”

Instead of a statement, I needed to really make a resolution. To make doing something or not doing something firm in my mind so it became stuck there.

When we make a New Years’ resolution, we are really talking about changing habits. Again, the first place to turn is defining what a habit really is: a habit, in psychology, is “any regularly repeated behavior that requires little or no thought and is learned rather than innate. A habit—which can be part of any activity, ranging from eating and sleeping to thinking and reacting—is developed through reinforcement and repetition.”

Finding this definition happened when for the first time in my life, I was teachable. There is an old saying: “When the student is willing the teacher appears.” I can honestly say that if you want your New Years’ resolutions to stick you have to be that willing student and become teachable.

Learning this definition changed my life. “Every habit is learned”, that really spoke to me. That meant that any habit I had or wanted to have could be learned or unlearned

The definition also showed me where I had gone wrong in all my previous decisions and resolutions. I did nothing to reinforce that decision in my mind. Today, I call this developing a mantra. When I make a resolution today, I make a mantra to reinforce that resolution in my mind.

My very first mantra was this: “I love my job; I love my life.” Because at the time I made this mantra I neither loved my job or my life. Some eight years later I both love my job and my life.

My 2020 resolution is to improve this site to increase my audience and its mantra is: “Produce, learn and reach out.” It is written on the whiteboard in front of me.

Which means, I am to produce more and better content. Learn all the skills needed to be a great blogger. Reach out to people to increase my audience.

Am I going to be good at these things? Actually, no, as I write this, I know only about ten people will read this. That is the point when you start you are never good at it. But if you are a willing student you will learn.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Our goal is to develop the self -discipline to take control of our emotions, minds and lives.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work hard on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

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BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well.  This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by Al Levin.

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/managing-mdd/letter-to-men-with-mdd#1