A New Year…a New You

      1. The annual GPYB New Year’s Post

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential. – Ellen Goodman

The most important part of rebuilding after a major breakup is to plan out what comes next. For many it may be hard. We might be feeling lost, alone and not “up” to thinking about being the cheerleaders of our lives. We may be kicking and screaming our way through the idea of going it alone. In the past few weeks we’ve felt absolutely shipwrecked by the holidays. We just want them to be over (and they almost are!)

But starting over is not always a horrible, terrible thing. We don’t get a lot of do-overs in life and, as it says in the book, a breakup is a great opportunity to evaluate things and think about things you want to do for yourself, you want to be or changes you want to make that were not possible to make while in a relationship…especially if the relationship took up so much energy.

It is important to forge your own identity, to understand who and what you are or what you want to be. You have to change the person you are otherwise you will wind up in a very similar relationship to the one that did not work out. The Relationship Inventory is about looking at the relationship objectively and taking responsibility for what part you played. What emptiness you had that needed to be filled by someone, anyone. What red flags you missed. What unacceptable behavior you accepted. What unreasonable and reasonable things were said and done to each other. What you need to change about YOU including the scrutiny you give new people.

You must get rid of any desperation to BE with someone. You must be able to tolerate and then learn to enjoy your own company. You absolutely must use your post breakup time to learn how to set boundaries, have standards and demand love, respect, caring, consideration, prioritization and importance from everyone in your life, including your friends, family and any romantic or potentially romantic interests. You need to learn to not be “taken in” by those who would tell you one thing and act in a completely different way. You have to stop accepting apologies from unreliable people for unacceptable behavior. At some point, a person who has to apologize over and over again is someone who does not know how to act lovingly and they have to be dropped. Like a stone. To the bottom of the ocean. You must know how to expect fair and sane and reasonable treatment from everyone and loving and caring from those closest to you. And not settle for anything less.

You must STAY NC and stop throwing pearls to swine. No, NC is not easy in the beginning. Like quitting smoking or any bad habit or even starting a NEW habit like eating right and exercise, what is good for you isn’t easy. Put down the Contact Cake, the Contact Cigarette, the Contact Crack and resolve to put yourself and your well being before CONTACT. STAY NO CONTACT. Once and for all. Your ex is not a random itch you have to scratch. More like a tick that needs removal and flushing down the toilet.

You must learn that physical chemistry and even surface level emotional chemistry comes often to most people. True caring and connection and real love are not easily accomplished and when you get “picky,” as you should be getting, the field of potential mates thins out quite a bit but choosing from a small field of quality people is better than choosing from a large field of miscreants, mismatches, morons and potentially dangerous or personality disordered people.

You must learn that love is an action and what do you want and what you need to do to get it (reject the mismatches). You learn that you get what you put up with and if you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for anything.

So changing who you are and the way you approach relationships (all relationships, not just romantic rebuilding) remains vital to moving past your breakup. And one way to undermine rebuilding is to fall into the silly trap of New Year’s Resolutions. Not that they are completely useless, but to be effective, they have to be done RIGHT.

This New Years we should begin to think of all the things we want to do and resolve to do. But the best way to think about resolutions is what we have the potential to do…what dreams we can make come true, what opportunities we can make happen, what successes we would like to experience.

Success starts with believing that success is possible and what needs to be done can be done and inside you there is a person ready to make it all happen…because it is.

Success is not defined by what you are worth, but how much self-worth you have. It’s not defined by who you are with, but who you are. Success is about honoring the person you were meant to be and being that person.

Success comes about by not only resolving to be the BEST PERSON every single day but having definitive plans and goals in place. Every New Years people resolve to quit smoking, lose weight, get a better job…and that’s it! They don’t think about how or they over-reach (I’ll go to the gym 7 days a week) and set themselves up for failure.

A resolution said once amounts to nothing more than a wish and wishing does not make it so.  As a darling woman I took care of as an 18-year old CNA once told me, “If wishes were fishes, we’d all have a good swim.”  Forget wishes…go for goals…go for GOLD.

Resolutions should not be about stopping this or quitting that, it should be about the positive…of finding what is inside you to succeed…to be committed to the process of changing your life to succeed…of unlocking your potential and becoming the person you were meant to be.

The workbook, has a GOALS chapter (which my publisher cut for both books…because they were “too long already” (grrr), we give the example of “becoming good with money” when we work on the goal-setting lesson. This is how we frame it, in the POSITIVE.

We don’t say that our goal is to NOT spend money, but rather it is to save money, plan for the future and “become good with money.” We give examples of concrete, short-term goals that we visualize and affirm in order to reach our long-term PERMANENT goal of being good with money. Our short-term goal will look precise so we can reach it: “I will save $x every week.” We PREPARE for this savings by drawing up a budget and understanding what we can realistically save.

Remember the GPYB principle of change: to change, we must expand our comfort zones a bit at a time, and to do so it has to be not too easy and not too hard.

So we resolve to save $x that we will feel it but it will not decimate our budget.

In GPYB we continually revisit our goals so we set a series of savings goals that increase over time. We put the things in place that will make us “good with money.” Remember it is about POSITIVE FRAMING so if your New Year’s resolution has to do with money, make it “I will become good with money.” but remember our affirmations need to be precise, affirm not that “I will save money.” because you cannot work toward that, it’s too intangible….affirm that you will save “$x a week.” remember to make it a realistic amount that expands your comfort zones some but not too much.

On the other hand, if you want to lose weight, don’t say “I will lose 5 lbs a week.” or even “I will lose weight.” say “I will eat 5 healthy small meals a day and work out at the gym for 30 minutes a day.” Define for yourself what is “healthy” and define for yourself what exercise you CAN and WILL do…don’t set the goals SO HIGH you are destined to fail.

Remember to do your affirmations, “I eat right and exercise every day.” Remember the keys to good affirmations: positive and present and DEFINITE. Keep working with them. Affirm to affirm.

In Getting Back Out There, (GBOT) there is the Standards and Compatibility Inventory and the Couples Inventory. You don’t have to be ready to date to do the Standards and Compatibility Inventory.  It’s something you should do before you ever get there…right after you do your Relationship Inventory when what you DON’T want is fresh in your head.  You MUST MUST MUST start working on your Standards as soon as you break up.  It takes a LONG while to commit to being true to YOU and that is what this inventory is about.

You don’t have to be part of a couple to start the Couples Inventory.  When I met my husband Michael, I didn’t know he would be the love of my life.  But the night we met I asked him some very pointed questions (but in a story fashion, “What would you do if…” and based it on things I didn’t know about people until I came to a crossroads in the relationship and then the answer to this question came up…) and not only did he LOVE the interrogation (I made it like a game), he was sick of relationships that didn’t work so he said he fell in love with me that night, thinking, “Who IS this woman with all these GREAT questions???”  He said all those pointed questions…all those hypotheticals…helped him frame what HE wanted and what I was looking for.  We were playing a very sophisticated game of 20 Questions and we both knew we were compatible by the end of the first 15 minutes.

He knew I didn’t want to go blindly into a relationship and neither did he.  We both had sworn OFF relationships, content to be alone the rest of his life.  We both swore he’d NEVER get married again but we were married 5 months after we met.  Because after that first night, with all the questions and information flying back and forth (we talked for over 3 hours), we felt we KNEW each other and liked each other.  He said he fell in love with me that night and our first date was supposed to be the next weekend, but he couldn’t wait and took me to lunch on Wednesday.

I had to keep affirming my right to ask anyone these questions…and it PAID OFF.  Get GBOT, start the Standards and  Compatibility Inventory the MINUTE you finish the Relationship Inventory (okay, not the minute)….and get your relationship IQ HIGHER than it’s been.

In 2018 affirm to be the best you can be, get rid of the negative messages, get rid of the “get back where you belong” messages from yourself and others, do your historical work, get rid of the destructive communication, do your grief work, become assertive and positive, develop good boundaries and set those short-term and long-term goals.

If you learn the lessons and do the work in the GPYB book, you will take charge of you life and realize that life happens the way YOU want it to. Life is not something that will happen to you, life is something that YOU make happen.

Become the person you were meant to be.

Make your life happen NOW.

And when you are in control of your own life and not thrown about by every wind, you are a happier person.

So begin now.

Make a plan.

Set your standards.

Define your limits.

Decide what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in your life and what you will do if met with unacceptable behavior.

Don’t just throw yourself into 2018 making “resolutions” which will be forgotten by February 1 or refusing to learn from the past. If you repeat the past in the future you will just have reheated past. We will be a hamster with a new wheel and still getting exactly the same place we got to on the old wheel: NOWHERE.

Set the goals, plot out the steps to meet those goals, and keep affirming that your best life is waiting for you. 2018 is the year to go get it. You can do this!

Peace to you in 2018~~~

Order Getting Past Your Breakup and/or Getting Back Out There HERE

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5 Responses to A New Year…a New You

  1. lesleybbaird says:

    New year new you right that is always a good goal or at least a better you. My boyfriend of 3 years and I just broke up the day after christmas it was mutual very civil still so much love and trust, honesty and respect between the both of us. We actually had been talking about going on a break before christmas but ended up both deciding that a full clean break up would be the right thing to do for the both of us. We spent one last beautiful christmas together and then said our peace and goodbyes are till next time. This kind of break up is so much harder than my last one because there is still so much love for one another and the want to be together but we both know its not right or at least its not right right now. I know i need to focus on myself and my own goals and becoming a better, independent me with or without a relationship but it is hard when there is still such a part of me hoping for reconsiliation down the road after time apart and self reflection. I am doing NC even though i hate it, i guess my question or concern is since this was such a clean and civil and mutual break is it wrong to think there could be reconciliation after time apart and us both working on ourselves?

    • topf says:

      Hi Lesley.
      I don’t think any of your thoughts are wrong. But they’re only thoughts, and after a breakup you will go through many feelings and thoughts. Contemplate them while they’re there but be aware of the fact that NC will do a lot for you, and you may change your mind about things. So allow yourself your process. Don’t hang too tight onto any thought or feeling. Welcome them and let them go again. It will take you a while to find the things that will stick. I hope you have a great (tolerable?) NYE!

    • Goldie says:

      Hi Lesley,

      This sounds like my last breakup, which was exactly one year ago, New Year’s Eve 12/31/2015. We had two wonderful years, then just as I started thinking “hmm we’re not working out as well as I thought, perhaps we should have a talk” he came to my house (2 hr drive one way in the snow), gave me a letter that said I was perfect for him in many ways, but something was missing, broke up, and left. I wasn’t happy with his choice of a date, or going straight to making a unilateral decision without discussing it first, but truth be told, we were headed for a breakup anyway. We’d agreed before that, should things end, we’d go NC. So we did. The first couple of months were very hard because we’d been each other’s closest friends. He (afaik) had other friends and family to fall back on, and I had the same. He didn’t initiate contact at all this year. I initiated three times, but I have solid excuses for each one, I promise 🙂 First time, I asked him not to reply, but the other two times, I needed a response and he responded very briefly. I also started seeing a therapist and working on myself immediately after the breakup, had many new experiences, made new friends, reconnected with the old ones. Frankly, I had many great experiences this year that would not have been possible, or would have been far less enjoyable, if the ex and I were still together. (We were not very compatible in what we each liked to do for fun. I like to see music shows and to travel, and he likes going to a movie theater and watching TV.)

      After a year of this, I can say that I am very thankful for the relationship I had with this ex; it enriched me and helped me grow into a better person. But I am also glad that it ended. It would not have lasted, or it would not have continued to be as good as it was before, if it had lasted. Based on that, for myself, I would not want reconciliation. Each time I contacted him and heard back, it felt weird. Like something being in my present which only belongs in my past and shouldn’t be here now. Neither of us know if the other person is dating anyone, or trying to date, and I am glad we kept each other in the dark about it. Again, because he is a thing of the past and I don’t want to know about the present. FTR I have not yet tried dating again. I know it is time, but I keep putting it off. Frankly, this last ex set the bar pretty high for me in terms of compatibility, communication, and friendship in a relationship. I don’t know if I’ll find anything like that again on a dating site or in a meetup group. But, based on how many new, interesting, decent people I’ve met in this past year, it’s certainly a possibility that I might end up with someone like that again. No, definitely no reconciliation for me. I’ll just settle for the amazing memories of a beautiful relationship that ended because it had run its course! As for you, I don’t know your situation, and why you two decided to part ways. But could it be that the same reasons why you decided to separate, will be the reasons why getting back together would not work? Either way, I wish you the best of luck.

      • Susan J. Elliott says:

        The beauty of grief work is being able to extract the good from the bad and your comment represents that in spades! How wonderful. Good on you! Thank you for sharing!

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      It’s not wrong, but it’s unlikely to happen. It happens very very very very rarely. I would put aside thoughts of reconciliation for now and work on you. You can do this!

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