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Advice for the New Year! Make a change!

Topic #4: How can I make this year better than the last?  

In order to make a change, you must first understand what it is you are doing (or have done in the past) that is not working for you. Start with observing yourself; keep a notebook or journal and document your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that relate to the specific “thing” you wish to change. Get to know yourself first! It can be a bit overwhelming to make changes, especially if we are unclear on what it is that needs changing! We may think we understand abstractly (example: “I want to lose weight.”) but understanding what our diet and eating habits look like meal to meal, day to day will give you the information you need to get started on change. Change takes preparation, planning, and conviction. It’s a process!

Before you try to change a behavior, I suggest writing things down. Get your thoughts out of your mind and on paper so you can refer back to it in the days to come. Writing is like your permanent reminder card, don’t rely on memory alone.

Start small. Don’t try to tackle big changes about yourself all at once since most people do not succeed if they take on too much at once. Pick one or two short, and one or two long-term goals to focus on. Be specific – examples: “I will drink one more glass of water each day for one week” or “I am going to think of one positive thing that happened to me each day for 5 days” or “I am going to walk up and down the stairs 3 times, twice a week”. Let’s attain our small goals first as this helps motivate us to keep going and tackle the longer-term goals.

Remember, behavioral change takes time, attention, dedication, and a ridiculous amount of energy! Humans are creatures of habit (click to see the article from Psychology Today about behavioral change) and to change something we do automatically can be an up and down battle!

Feel free to leave a comment about habits and behaviors you would like to change in 2014… Happy New Year!

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