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Dec 30, 2010

Healthy Living looks at an alternative to New Year resolutions

Much like each new day brings a promise of things to come, each New Year brings the opportunity to leave behind things of the past and look ahead with a new commitment. It is the time of the year when many will make resolutions for the New Year. But are they kept? Healthy Living finds that there is a better approach to make changes in your life.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

As the clock ticks away and 2010 fades out; most people are gearing to bring in the New Year with new hope. One of the most common practices at the start of each New Year is to make resolutions. The significance of these yearly commitments waxes and wanes depending on your personality. To find out just how practical resolutions can be, we sought the recommendations of Mental Health Professional, Jenny Lovell.

Marleni Cuellar

“Should we or shouldn’t we make New Year’s resolution?”

Jenny Lovell, Counselor

“New Year’s resolution, honestly, like you said have become a joke because nobody keeps them. In fact I could guarantee you. I can dare you. Go ahead and make your New Year’s resolution cause I know after January first you’re gonna fall off the wagon. So I would say that we shouldn’t make New Year’s resolution instead we should make personal goals which are reachable.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Why is an action plan more realistic than making that commitment to yourself at the end of the year. How are they different? “

Jenny Lovell

“A lot of times people do it on their birthdays too. The end of the year everyone psyched because it’s the end of the year and I can make al these wild promises to myself. I guarantee you some people are doing it when they’re drunk, some people are doing it cause they’re family is pressuring them to make some resolution others because they’re read about it or see it on the TV.  I’ve seen people with these New Year’s resolution they have a sheet of paper and they have literally 10, 15, 20 resolutions that they’re going to keep. There’s no way to do that. If you’re going to set a goal, a personal goal, you wanna do maybe two tops and do them well. You wanna do something’s that you can actually see yourself achieving.”

Using the New Year as a starting point for a personal action plan is Jenny’s suggested route. By making a minimum of two personal goals and creating a detailed action plan, you can monitor your success. The steps in the action plan should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound.  Jenny recommends using the New Year as an opportunity for change.

 

Jenny Lovell

“This is a marvellous opportunity for anybody who has something that they want something new. It’s always when you have an opportunity to start something you’ve always wanted to do or that you’ve been waiting along time to get started. I wanna lose weight. I’ve decided I want to lose weight but that’s going to be a goal of mine that for the rest of this year I am going to work on losing weight. Right? That’s an opportunity. Other people I know want to get out of debt. But you have to have a plan. It’s not a resolution, your resolve, ok I’m gonna get out of debt….Good. How you gonna do it?”

jenny lovell

Creating a personal action plan can help you make and break habits in the New Year as well.

 

Jenny Lovell

“Habits are, let me tell you, are things we learn. You can have good habits and you have bad habits but they’re things we learn. And we have neural pathways in the brain. It takes seven days, seven days to break a habit. To break or make? To break.  For example if you wanna stop smoking cigarettes then if you can tolerate it for seven days you’re going to break the habit and then if you can sustain it, its gone. The problem is though a pathway is still there so you get stressed out or you get anxious you’re going to revert back if you’re not conscious all the time of stopping smoking, you’ll just all of a sudden one day find yourself outside smoking again. Or doing that habit again.”

 

Of course, if you can maintain the new habit for an extended period of time, it can become your new ‘normal’ way of being.

 

Marleni Cuellar

“The anxiety that comes in wanting to ensure success. What is your advice on helping people to relieve that anxiety and stay on track?”

Jenny Lovell

“Limit yourself to two goals. You set yourself up when you make this long list of resolutions. There’s no way to accomplish all those things ok. There’s no way.  Number 2 if you are seeing small successes then you’re going to want to stick with it. Not to have too many and to have your mind prepared. Give yourself permission to make those little slips. It happens.”

 

Also, if you’re serious about your action plan, tell your friends and family so they can support you in the changes you want to make.

 

Jenny Lovell

“My recommendation is limit yourself to two things decide what two things you really want to do in your life this year and if you make a mistake you fall off the wagon, fall off the horse then just jump right back on.  Sometimes in this life, we don’t get what we want. But the New Year offers new hope. We now have 2011 to look at; we now have 2011 to be the person we always wanted to be.”

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