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Planning to lose weight? Start exercising? Stop smoking?
Welcome to WayPoint Counselling and Referrals Centre’s January 2015 newletter. Happy New Year to all. If you made a New Year’s resoution, actually making it happen can be tougher than you think. The frustration of an unused gym membership can make the early new year months feel hopeless.
It is important to remember that the New Year isn’t supposed to be a time of sweeping personality or character changes. It is a time to think back on your past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes. Setting small, doable goals throughout the year, instead of a single, overwhelming goal, can help you reach whatever it is you strive for. Remember, it is not how big of a change you are making that matters, but rather it’s the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important, and then working toward it, in deliberate, small increments.
When your goals are realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your everyday life.
BABY STEPS ARE BIG ENOUGH
Set goals that you think you can keep. For example, if your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule two or three days a week as a starting point, instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.
LESS IS MORE, ONE CHANGE AT A TIME
Unhealthy behaviours develop over the course of time. So, replacing unhealthy behaviours with healthy ones requires time too. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to re-formulate everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one (small) thing at a time.
TALK ABOUT IT
Share your experiences with trusted family and friends. Think about joining a group that can support you in reaching your goals, like a workout class or a group of coworkers who are quitting smoking. Having supportive people to share your ups-and-downs to a healthier lifestyle makes it just a little easier and less intimidating.
LET GO OF PERFECTION
Don’t try to be perfect, it’s unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when working on your goals are completely normal, and predicatable (meaning, you will have missteps). Don’t give up completely just because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from them and get back on track.
Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. WayPoint counsellors, Victoria BC, are specially trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.
All the best for 2015.