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Focus: New Year’s Resolutions 2.0

Ahhh, New Year’s Resolutions. They meanwell but unfortunately, often come to us in the form of shoulds(I should lose weight, stop smoking, cut out junk food, etc.), not want tos(I want toread more books, get more fresh air, spend more time with my family, etc.). One of the things we often talk about in therapy is how to look at current ideas, relationships and challenges in new ways. Because no matter how hard we try, we can’t always change things—and in some cases, we don’t actually need to. Simply reframing our perspective breathes new life and hope into what may have previously seemed hopeless (of course, if you’re struggling with challenges such as addiction, there are plenty of reasons to seek professional help).

For 2016, why not focus on what you’re already doing well, then do more of it? It’s a simple shift in perspective but one that encourages both confidence and a sense of mastery, as opposed to continual self-defeat caused by focusing on failure. Here are some examples to get you started on your Best Year Yet:

–   Think SMALL– as in, small habits that, with time and consistency, can grow to bigger, more positive results. If one of your want tos is to spend more time with your family but there never seems to be enough hours in the day, try engaging more fully during the time that’s currently available. That might be in the form of a simple five-minute conversation with your child on the way to school rather than handing him your smart device.

–   Break It Up– if you’ve tried (and failed, as many have) for years to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, the time has come to accept the fact that maybe you aren’t a gym person. Or a workout video person. Or a yogi. But you might be really good at doing 20 wall push-ups while waiting for your coffee to brew, an excellent walker by parking far away from the Target entrance or the world’s best Frisbee partner to your dog at the dog park. The same concept applies to housekeeping, managing work projects and more. A little bit here, a little bit there adds up.

–   Have a Plan B– there will always be obstacles and sometimes, when we’re tired or out of patience, we will make poor choices. Having a Plan B allows you to stay on track even when you’re temporarily derailed.

Happy New Year!

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