Better: Tips for Psychological Wellness
The new year brings a wonderful opportunity to start fresh. Many of us use this as a time to reflect on our goals for wellness—emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual. As you establish your resolutions for the new year, use the tips below to maximize the likelihood that you will succeed.
1. Be realistic. Want to get your home organized, pay down your debt, lose weight, start meditating, get your kids to listen, and train for a marathon? Good for you! But establishing too many goals at once may make you more likely to feel overwhelmed and give up. Prioritize and focus first on those that are really most important to you—get one new habit established before moving on to incorporate the next.
2. Be concrete. “I’m going to get healthy” is a wonderful aspiration, but the statement is too vague. Instead, say “I want to walk for 30 minutes a day, 4 times this week” or “I will eat a vegetable with lunch five times this week”. Break your goal down into specific, action-oriented steps. Write them down and record your progress. This will give you the opportunity to monitor whether you have actually done what you had hoped to do, and you can modify your plan from there (as opposed to abandoning it altogether).
3. Be positive. Remember that any change in the direction of your goals, however small, is a step towards progress. You may have walked only three days this week although your goal was four. That’s not a point for beating yourself up—just the opposite! Be proud of your progress, and use these smaller achievements to “shape” your behavior towards your larger goal.
Do you have a question for the psychologist or a psychological topic you would like to see covered in a future column? Please send your question/idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Lisa Doane’s private practice is located in Rocky River. She can be reached at 440-249-7990.