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Saturday , October 20 2018
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Tag Archives: new years resolutions

First Steps into the New Year: Reevaluations, not Resolutions

With the first day of the new year just around the corner, this is the perfect time to evaluate those beliefs we are holding which serve to hinder our progress in the new year, as well as those relationships which are healthy and those which we cling to out of a feeling of obligation, no matter the amount of drama they bring with them.

So how do address these feelings? How do you clear out the cobwebs and clutter you have built up? There are several ways, but you must be willing to be honest with yourself when doing so.

One of the biggest things we hold with us, which is also one of the most damaging, is the failure to meet the expectations we placed on ourselves in the past year.

Whether it was that new job that you planned to start, new relationship you thought you would have, or whatever you expected to happen in the past year: the fact it hasn’t doesn’t mean you are a failure, it means you had one; there is a huge difference.

Re-evaluating those goals is the first step.

First, think about the goals you set over the past year and ask yourself if they are still goals which you wish to achieve. Next, think about the magnitude of the goal you set. So often we seek to set a large and lofty goal, which makes accomplishing it almost impossible.

Just as with any journey, there are steps which must be taken, and setting a goal is no different.

Look at the goal you set: is it something large, and if so, did you take the time to figure out what steps you needed to take to reach the goal? If the goals are still something that you wish to do, then sit down and figure out what steps you have to take to reach it. Then take those steps.

With respect to relationships, just as with your personal goals, a re-evaluation must be done. Understandably, it is hard with friendships, work relationships, and romance to look at the other from a 100% logical perspective, as there will be some emotions. Those emotions though, can help you logically look at the relationships in your life.

You may wish to go one by one, but there may be some groups, such as co-workers and bosses, which you may wish to lump together. Take a look at each individual or group and ask yourself, “What are the emotions I feel where they are concerned?”

Here is the tricky thing: we try to label some emotions good and some bad, but in fact no matter the emotion, it can be either. Whether you feel anger, sadness, jealousy, or joy the reason behind that emotion is what is most important to examine.

Do you feel happy when around someone because they are always doing things for you or because they, as a person, make you happy? Do you feel anger at work because you don’t get credit for the work you do or because someone else is better at the job?

How you answer these questions tells you how you should react to the situation, should you say “see you later” if it is less than positive? Not always.

If there is abuse, in no way should you say maybe I can fix this. But in many other situations, such as with friends and work relationships, more effort can help improve the situation. In other cases, yes, it is okay to say this relationship isn’t healthy and it isn’t needed.

Cutting a person or situation out of your life doesn’t mean you don’t care, it means you care enough about yourself to demand better. The most important thing to remember is that growth is a process, not an immediate change. Just as an acorn does not become a mighty oak overnight or simply by willing itself so, growth for us as individuals is quite the same.

Each day we have the chance to grow or to wither, but unlike with plants, withering can be a process for growth in humans.

So often we have set such lofty goals that we don’t realize the progress we have made or what else we have accomplished.

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Author – Justin Nutt LSCSW, LAC – Special Contributor to the El Paso Herald-Post

View his previous column here

The Skinny on Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

SANTA FE, N.M. — The most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2016 involved staying fit and losing weight, and chances are good that many people are setting the same goal again in 2017. The psychology of motivation may hold the answer to how people can keep their resolutions in the new year.

According to Elliot Berkman, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, it’s important to start with a goal that is less abstract and more actionable than just “staying healthy” – and to start on it as soon as possible.

“What you want to do is to get those immediate reinforcements as early as you can,” Berkman said. “So, it’s kind of classic advice and it’s good advice to start small, and to make sure to reinforce each little step.”

According to a Nielsen study, 43 percent of people said they planned to lose weight at the beginning of this year by eating healthier. But more than 75 percent who had that goal had not followed a healthy diet or weight-loss program the year before, so they hadn’t developed the healthy habits necessary for success.

Berkman said this can be the biggest obstacle. Our habitual behavior – which may not involve regular visits to the gym – is the easiest for us to fall back on. Following through on a New Year’s resolution means rewiring the brain for a new habit – literally. Berkman said people are better off doing something they like and connecting the habit to something bigger.

“Maybe it’s connecting it to your family or your work, or earning money,” he said. “Whatever is the thing that you really care about, find the way that that new goal is connected to that, and that’s going to also serve as a reinforcement for it.”

Technology also can be useful for keeping people motivated. Berkman said at the University of Oregon’s Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab where he works, he and other researchers use text messaging to remind people of their goals. He said abstract goals can be hard to keep in mind day to day, especially when concrete temptations exist all around.

“It helps combat fire with fire, a little bit, to get those texts in your daily life,” Berkman said. “And so, you don’t need to go out of your way to remember why you care about losing weight or exercising more. We’re going to remind you, and we’ll do it in your own words.”

Author – Suzanne Potter, Public News Service (NM)

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