Want to Keep Those Resolutions?
By: Beverly Glass, L.S.C.W.-R.
"You say you want a RESOLUTION
Well, you know
We all want to change our world…" the Beatles
In anticipation of the New Year, many of us start making our lists of resolutions or commitments to change our "world", or at least our daily or weekly habits or routines. We make promises to exercise more, eat more healthy, pay off our debts, stick to our budgets, improve our focus, stop procrastinating, play more, and maybe even work more. We make lists and promises at the start of the year which frequently go by the wayside before too long. Making lasting changes can seem difficult and daunting, especially when we have tried and failed a number of times.
There are as many different ideas for approaching the process of making changes as there are people starting resolution lists! One intriguing approach suggests considering four steps that may change your life, or at least help you stick to your resolutions.
- Choose one very small change – If you are trying to lose weight, add one glass of water to your daily routine. If you are trying to exercise more, commit to a 10 minute walk. If you are trying to save more money, pack your lunch one time more each week.
- Commit to only one change at a time – As easy as it may sound, making changes in our daily routines can be hard. Set yourself up for success by committing to one change at a time.
- It’s okay to set priorities and enjoy the success of doing only one thing different. Consider reviewing your list of resolutions and rank them starting with the most important goal first. Once you identify one thing you’d like to change, keep in mind that it takes an average of 21 days to make a new behavior a habit.& You can add on as that one change becomes part of your lifestyle.
- Be mindful and enjoy the process – Worry less about the outcome and enjoy the experience of engaging in behaviors that keep with your values and goals. This in and of itself can be rewarding and can have a positive impact on your mood.
- Acknowledge and appreciate even the smallest of steps – Keep a list of your accomplishments each day to help you reflect on what you are doing that works. Share your successes with others.
Making changes, large or small, can be a challenge. Failing to follow through with our commitments to ourselves or others can become an additional source of stress. When we are not able to forgive ourselves for making a mistake or slipping up on a commitment to change, we may do more harm than good. Engaging in practices of self-forgiveness can help to lower anxiety and depression and can lead to better health overall. Try these principles for making a change and give yourself permission to "start again" if or when you fall back on old habits.
Behavioral Health Partners is brought to you by Well-U, offering eligible individuals mental health services for stress, anxiety, and depression. Our team of mental health professionals can accurately assess your symptoms and make recommendations for treatment. To schedule an intake appointment, give us a call at (585) 276-6900.
Keith Stein |