Jennie K Ormson

Stronger Relationships, Stronger Legacy

Will this year will be different?

  • Lose weight
  • Stick to exercise plan
  • Get organized
  • Improve relationship
  • Find relationship
  • Yell less
  • Snuggle more
  • Move ahead
  • Slow down

Sound familiar?

These are some of the most common resolutions I hear at The Nook. People set BIG goals, determined that This Year Will Be Different. This year will be completely different. People are pumped up, excited, and ready to begin turning over a brand new leaf. But their approach is often more like planting a whole new tree. Long, long ago, in a far away land (Montreal in the late 90’s) while completing my MSW, I had the pleasure of working for Chloe Hutchison, a brilliant architect and landscape designer. That summer, my office was her clients’stunning gardens in Hudson, a charming little town on the outskirts of Montreal. Under her guidance, I learned design secrets that transform pretty gardens into spectacular sanctuaries.

One of the most valuable skills she taught me was how to prune. First Chloe circled the plant or shrub, tilting her head to one side then the other, squinting to assess it. Then her languid style turned sharp and decisive as she whipped her clippers out of her holster (true story, she had a holster) and set to work. Sometimes it would be a few errant branches here or there, but more often than not she became Edward Scissorhands, snipping mercilessly. In the beginning, I was slack-jawed, looking at these plants that had the equivalent of a ruthless crew-cut. I questioned Chloe’s sanity and skill. But low and behold, she did know what she was doing. In a few short weeks, the plants flourished, more robust and thriving than I could have imagined.

Sometimes, in order for our resolutions to flourish, we need to do the same thing: assess and prune. Although the desire for a radical overhaul may be tempting, sometimes incremental changes are more realistic and successful in the long run. Different plants required different styles of pruning. Since we’re all unique and complex, different styles work with different people too. Gretchen Rubin explores this topic in her book Better Than Before. She uses an engaging blend of research and anecdotes to describe different personality types and the best approach for them to making habits stick.

Sometimes radical pruning is needed: career change, relationship change, city change. After careful consideration, many of my clients have embarked on these radical changes resulting in radical happiness. I love getting updates letting me know how different their lives are, better than they had ever dared imagine. For those who aren’t ready for massive change, sometimes a shift in perspective is all that’s needed. It can make a horrible job more enjoyable, or a faltering relationship more fulfilling. What I know for sure is that if you are unhappy, a change of some sort is required. Don’t make sudden, impulsive decisions about resolutions. Take the time to contemplate what you want (what you really REALLY want) and embark on a thoughtful plan to make it happen. If you need some help getting clarity, reach out to a trusted friend or skilled therapist. With effort, planning, and determination, this year CAN be different.