I have written about how methamphetamine transits the globe and how it ultimately finds it way to users in the San Francisco Bay Area. The methamphetamine story is varied and complex. It will take a great deal of elucidation to get a handle on it. Nick Reding’s book, Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, goes a long way toward doing this for the heartland. Redding does a great job of going back to his roots in the mid-West to describe how methamphetamine has become such a popular and, in many ways, essential drug in rural and small town America. The book is well-researched and contains many personal anecdotes regarding how this drug is affecting the people using the drug, their families and the communities to which they belong.
The book is difficult to put down. I highly recommend reading it. If you are not so inclined or need more reason to invest your time, Kevin Nenstiel, an author and English professor living in Nebraska, has done an excellent synopsis and review of the book. You can find it here.
You’ve had time to think about what is important to you to change. You’ve implemented a strategy to change. Now it’s time to look at how your overall goal matches your needs and how your strategy is working.
It is easy to assume that making a resolution is the heavy lifting and that everything will fall into place as the year goes on. However many great resolutions go by the wayside because we are not willing to re-evaluate what we are doing and how we are doing it. I will give you an example.
Often people want to stop a certain behavior, be it abuse of drugs or alcohol, overeating or smoking. Let’s stick with the example of smoking cessation for now. You’ve made a resolution to stop and now it is the end of January. You may have quit for a few days but now you are right back to smoking the same number of cigarettes that you had been before the New Year.
There are two questions to ask yourself at this point:
1.) Is this the right goal (stopping smoking) for me?
2.) Am I going about it in a realistic way?
For certain behaviors, of course, there is no question that stopping will be beneficial. Smoking is one of those behaviors. So the answer is yes to the first question. It’s the second question that can make or break the achievement of your goal and if you are not open to re-evaluating things then your resolution will be very difficult if not impossible to achieve.
Say your strategy was to quit cold turkey. Many people are successful with this strategy. Many are not. The research shows that the more strategies you use to stop smoking the more likely you are to be successful. So you do some research on your own and find out that your preparation to achieve your goal was limited since it only provided you with one strategy. Your willingness to rethink things allows you to TRY AGAIN with a number of other strategies.
One of my mantras is: THINK, PREPARE, DO, REFINE. And then do it again…and again… This persistence is how change happens.
Allow the month of February to be your time to refine the implementation of your goals. No one does anything the way anyone else does. We can learn from the research and other people’s experiences but each of us has to fine tune how we get to where we want to be.
This information is for educational purposes only and should not in any way be considered a substitute for professional help. If you feel that you need immediate assistance please call your local psychiatric emergency services.