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Most of the holiday season is now behind us except for upcoming New Year holidays. New Year’s Eve and Day parties, sporting events and social celebrations will dominate the next few days of our lives. Then it’s back to our regular schedules and routines.
From a health perspective, how can we move forward with a new lease on life — health, happiness and prosperity?
For many, we scratch the surface with plans to eat healthier and less, exercise more, seek peace and happiness while saving more money. We typically dive into action, as soon as the last relative leaves, the last celebration is over and the house is cleaned one more time. We join gyms and weight loss classes, fill our refrigerators with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and throw away sugar-filled drinks while vowing to drink more water.
These well-intended plans last a few days to a few weeks and then something happens. Life gets in the way again. Barriers we previously ignored pop up again; we make efforts and do not succeed and a little voice says “oh well, I tried, it isn’t meant to be, maybe next year.”
Sound familiar? In some form or fashion, this scenario sounds familiar to most all of us — physically, socially, intellectually, emotionally and/or spiritually, we just don’t do what we say we want to do and our plans fail.
This year can be different. It takes a vision to be whatever you want to be and efforts to focus and re-focus over the course of time, especially when the going gets rough. It takes slowing down long enough to really think through what you want and what it will take to accomplish your desires and goals.
I encourage you to try these tips and suggestions:
• Establish a personal vision — what do you want and who do you want to be today and 10 years from now? This is an “I want to be” statement that is heartfelt and passionate.
• Determine what it is YOU feel you are willing to change — the change reasons need to matter and there needs to be at least 5-7 reasons why this change is important to you.
• Think back to a time you were successful. What did it take and what did you do to make it a successful outcome? Use these reflections to build self-confidence and energy for future endeavors.
• Take time to assess past challenges and barriers. Approach these barriers ready to problem-solve — the same way you do with other aspects of your life. Think of working through barriers and challenges as opportunities instead of roadblocks.
• Be willing to take small steps. Be specific with one or two action steps you are willing to practice. Experiment! Figure out what works and doesn’t work. And enjoy the ride along the way. We learn from every experience, good or bad, if we choose to do so.
• If all else fails, ask yourself — do I want to feel good or bad? Deep down, we all want to feel good. If you are feeling bad, think back to a time when you did feel physically and emotionally good. What was going on in your life that contributed to these good feelings?
• And don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Just remember you are in charge of YOU. What you want and how you want to do it matters the most — one small step at a time.
Paula Furiness is the wellness coordinator at Wilson Medical Center.