Welcome to the next installment of our “More About Me” series. Today’s post is by Lori Hernberg, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern.
Happy New Year, everyone! January 1st not only marks a new month, but also a new year for all of us. For some, it also marks a time for new beginnings and resolutions with promises made to oneself, such as to lose or gain weight, eat nutrient-dense foods, exercise daily, quit smoking, or reduce alcohol consumption.
Personally, I have never been too enthusiastic about making such a pledge just because it’s a new year. Instead, I have found more success and happiness in making small, yet achievable goals set in place throughout the year. As a result, my goals become much more manageable and sustainable, especially when paired with a detailed plan.
My new goal is to be more present in both my personal and professional life. I am in the midst of planning my wedding and I have to constantly keep myself in check to avoid multi-tasking and be more present with everything and everyone. Although it is not a quantifiable goal (nor an easy one!), it is attainable. My tool is mindfulness, and I strive to weave this into day, my thoughts, and my actions.
According to experts, people often make resolutions that include habits and behaviors that are difficult to instantaneously change without a well-thought-out plan. A “quick fix” change will not work! Simply saying “I want to address my weight and exercise” is not enough to set yourself up for success and achieve goals. Even with a well-thought-out plan, it can still be nearly impossible to achieve goals if you are not realistic with yourself.
For example, if you have never worked out a day in your life and attempt to run for one hour on the treadmill, you are setting yourself up for failure mentally and physically. Therefore, when implementing changes, it is important to be realistic and practical with your goals. Think about the process as a journey or in exercise language, “a marathon and not a sprint.” Perhaps consider setting up mini-goals so that the goal itself is not overly daunting and ultimately unachievable.
Whether you are making a New Year’s resolution or implementing change at any point during 2017, it is crucial to be gentle, kind and forgiving with yourself if you happen to slip up. Some resolutioners may want to throw in the towel and give up altogether; however, setbacks are inevitable. After all, we are all humans and nobody is perfect. Use these slipups and setbacks as learning experiences and motivation to help to get you back on track with your goal(s).
I will leave you with this question for further reflection:
What can you do today that you were not capable of 12 months ago?