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Most of us will make a New Year's resolution but only one in ten will succeed in keeping their goals.
The secret of success is to plan what to achieve and then visualise what success will look, sound and feel like. Sue Atkins, the 'This Morning' parenting expert and author has seven top tips on how to become the best parent you can be.
“Some people say that we cannot control the future. If you have a wait-and-see attitude then whatever happens simply happens and life feels like it is controlling you. When you do something as simple as writing down the goals that you would like to achieve you feel far more in control of your life, less stressed and more energised,” says Sue Atkins.
According to Sue Atkins, the path to being a better parent starts with seven steps:
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Grab a pen and paper and take a few moments to daydream. What kind of parent do you want to be?
How would you like your child to describe you when they are grown up and telling their own children about you?
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As there are twelve months in a year set yourself twelve goals. Start by asking yourself:
- What do I most want to change in my family relationships?
- What would be different in my life if my problems, niggles or worries were gone permanently?
- What will happen if I don’t sort them out once and for all?
- What small thing could I do today to start the process off?
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Once you have written this list keep it somewhere handy or put it somewhere you can see it easily.
Read it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
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Read your goals to yourself slowly and deliberately and start to relax and imagine, in great detail, them happening.
See what you see, hear what you hear, and feel how great you feel as you start to see these things happening for real in your life. Be as detailed as possible in your pictures and make them really bright and colourful.
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Let the list of goals go into your unconscious mind by reading them a couple of times each day (before you brush your teeth is a good time as it’s something you naturally do regularly every day) and soon your goals will turn into habits.
This is genuinely the key to success as your unconscious mind starts to explore ways to make these things happen - it starts to deliver a plan that will be the turnkey in achieving your goals.
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If you want your relationship with your stroppy teenager or unpredictable toddler to improve, relax and keep visualising in lots of detail how you would like it to be in a perfect world.
See yourself relaxed and hear the sorts of things you say and do in this perfect scenario as this will inspire you and keep you motivated and enthusiastic. Visualisation is far more powerful than just “wishing for” things to improve.
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You must take ACTION. Don’t be like someone at the pub talking a good game, yet blaming someone else - actually DO SOMETHING about achieving your goals.
Change your tone of voice, appear more assertive and confident, listen more and talk less, read a parenting book on communicating with teenagers - whatever it takes to make a small change that can make a huge difference.
“It is important to take stock and spend a few moments reflecting on the achievements and challenges you experienced in the previous year." says Sue Atkins.
"Really celebrate the things you did well - as parents we forget to celebrate and praise ourselves for doing a great job, often under difficult circumstances. The year is just starting and there is a whole world of possibilities out there. Don’t beat yourself up about last year’s mistakes - learn from them and get excited about the things you can do.”
Sue Atkins is a parent coach and her website is at sueatkinsparentingcoach.com. She is the 'This Morning' programme's Parenting Guru, as well as appearing on BBC Breakfast television and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2.
She is also the host of The Sue Atkins Parenting Show podcast.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!