ASSERTIVE RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR

January 1, 2000 has arrived. One way to prepare for the
Year 2000 is to make a few New Year's resolutions.

A resolution is an assertion that you make to yourself
and sometimes to others as well.

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CHARACTERISTICS of an ASSERTIVE RESOLUTION:
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An assertive resolution

**Is a stand that you take **first with yourself**

**enhances your self-esteem.** The other side of this
statement is that if you should fail at a resolution,
it should not damage your self-esteem.

**includes **respect for yourself and others**

**is **realistic.** An assertive resolution is something
to which you can make a real commitment

**Is simple to accomplish

AIM FOR YOUR GOALS AND COMMIT TO YOUR RESOLUTIONS.

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The DIFFERENCE BETWEEN a GOAL and a RESOLUTION
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Let's look at each of these concepts:

According to Webster's dictionary (http://www.m-w.com)
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A GOAL is the end toward which effort is directed
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Many times people make goals for themselves for the year
and call them resolutions. A typical goal is about losing
weight or exercising. If I make a RESOLUTION to lose 20 pounds, then I will feel bad about myself if I only
lose 19. On the other hand, if I set the GOAL of losing
20 pounds, then I will feel great about my effort
toward that goal.

So set goals toward which you can aim in areas that are
hard to achieve. If I say that my goal is to exercise
more, and I aim in that direction, I can feel good
about myself if I exercise one more day than I do now,
or I can feel even better if I exercise two more days
than I do now. Each step takes me closer to my GOAL.

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A RESOLUTION
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according to Webster's International Dictionary is:
a determination; a formal expression of will, opinion
or intent. (A determination is the act of deciding
DEFINITELY and FIRMLY)

If I make a resolution, I am making a promise to
myself about something I am committed to and intend
to keep.

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An example of a resolution that is assertive with
myself and with others:
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Last August my youngest daughter was in a terrible
automobile accident in which she pulled out in front
of a speeding car. She is fine now, but in the
accident she broke her pelvis in three places, had to
go to her freshman year in college three weeks late,
and was on crutches for the first eight weeks of her
time at college.

I made a resolution that night that I reaffirmed on
January 1, 1999, that I would always drive the speed
limit on Atlanta city streets and I would always stop
at yellow lights.

Let's look at this resolution for characteristics of a
good assertive resolution:

***Driving the speed limit and stopping at yellow
lights is a stand I take first with myself but which
also affects others.

People in Atlanta rarely drive the speed limit, so going
35 in a 35-mile zone makes those who normally go 50
quite irritated. I generally have a line of cars
with unhappy (but forced to go the speed limit) drivers, behind me. By driving the speed limit, I am making
an assertive stand with Atlanta drivers about slowing
down.

**Driving the speed limit enhances my self-esteem because
I feel good about myself for doing the right thing. I
also know that I have control of my car and if a
careless teenager pulled in front of me, I could
stop without doing harm. If I fail to drive the
speed limit, I will feel guilty but it will not
hurt my self-esteem.

**Driving the speed limit is respectful of myself,
the other drivers, and the laws of the city in which
I live. The driver behind me who demonstrates anger
by sitting on the tail of my car is aggressive, not assertive.

**Driving the speed limit is realistic - after all,
it's the law. If I drive the speed limit, I won't get
a ticket (a built in reward!)

**Driving the speed limit is simple to accomplish.
All I have to do is read the signs and lighten up on
the gas pedal.

A side note: On one heavily traveled Atlanta street,
the speed limit has been 35 mph. The traffic
typically goes 50-55 down this road and I have never
seen a policeman giving tickets on this street.

On day, to my horror, all the signs were changed to 25 mph.

Adhering to my resolution, I slowed down to 25 mph.
The cars behind me were more than furious. For my own
well being, I pulled off of the road and stopped
pointedly under the 25-mph sign. I pulled out my cell
phone and called the police.

The officer who answered the phone said, "You're kidding?
The speed limit on Wieuca road has been changed to 25 mph?
Cars go 50 on that street."

"Officer," I said, "What would you advise me to do?
No one is giving tickets and I am making other drivers
mad by driving the speed limit."

And do you know what he said? He said, "Lady, you'd be
crazy to go 25 mph on Wieuca Road. I'd go at least 35
if I were you."

So now I go 35 on Wieuca and if an officer pulls me over,
I am prepared to explain in an assertive way that I
was given permission by the Fulton County police to go
35 mph!

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An example of an assertive resolution with myself:
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About three years ago, I made the resolution to drink
eight glasses of water a day. This resolution has all
the characteristics of a good assertive resolution:

**By drinking more water, I am taking a stand with
myself about staying in good health

**Drinking more water enhances my self-esteem
because I feel better about my skin, my body, and I
take some pride in choosing water over a soft drink.
If I were to fail at this promise to myself, then I am
not going to damage my self-esteem.

**Drinking more water to make me healthier is by
definition having respect for myself and my state
of being

**Drinking more water is realistic - always on hand and
available. It is possible even in shopping malls to
get a drink of water

**For me this was simple to accomplish. I see people
every hour in my office, so I decided to drink a glass
of water with each client. Sometimes I use a water
bottle and drink my eight glasses in just a couple
of therapy sessions. Sometimes I drink water all day long. It was so easy to accomplish this that I have
kept it up for the last three years.

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The above examples illustrate two very possible to achieve
resolutions. Make resolutions that you can feel good about
and can accomplish. Perhaps in doing so you could use the
support and help of a coach.

As the year 2000 begins, set INSPIRING GOALS for
yourself and make ASSERTIVE RESOLUTIONS that you
can keep.
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Author's Bio: 

Linda D Tillman is a psychologist and personal coach in practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She conducts virtual groups by telephone to help people become more assertive to go farther in their business and their lives. Her web site is www.speakupforyourself.com