Sunday, December 29, 2019

Keep that resolution! The plus minus trick...

Image result for plus sign
Plus and Minus

This week's focus is on mental health. 

A new decade! The 2010’s are in the books, and it’s time to start the 20’s (a new roaring 20’s? Let's hope flapper dresses make a comeback.) The next decade can be all that you’ve dreamed of, but it will take intentional focus, hard work, and yes, CHANGE.

While every new year is a great time to reflect and make positive changes in your life, it’s even more important at the start of a new decade.  What better time to take stock of your life, to look at those things that are bringing you closer to living a full, balanced and abundant life, and those things that may be standing in the way. 

As New Year’s approaches, look a little closer at your life. I’d suggest evaluating it on at least three levels: physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual. I was recently a guest on the Carlette Christmas On Point Talk Television show and we talked about these three core areas of life, and she expands them to six adding social, financial and family as well. (To learn more about Carlette and her show click here: On Point Radio Talk .) Your own list of core areas may be longer or shorter, but regardless, look at your life through the lens of those things that are important to you in the long term. Fast forward to when you are 90+ years old, in a cardigan sweater rocking on the porch, what are the things that you consistently valued over your life? Where are you doing today that is in line with those values? Congratulate yourself. What else could you be doing? What are you doing that is in opposition to those values? What needs to be cut back on or cut out? Time to make a change.

It seems like resolutions always involve stopping something. And that’s a good thing. Who doesn’t have at least one thing in their life that they should stop doing, or at least do less of? But for many people, despite their best intentions on Jan 1, they break thier resolution with in days. In fact, research conducted by Strava on 31.5 million people showed that most people failed their resolution by Jan 12.

So what can you do? In my outpatient practice, a lot of my work with patients involves helping them to stop doing something. And it is always a three steps forward, two steps back process so remember to be patient with yourself. But those that are successful seem to have something in common. Those people who find success take the time to look at the benefit that they are getting from that bad habit. What purpose is overeating at night serving? What is gained by overindulging in alcohol or using other substances? What is the plus side of staying in an unhealthy relationship? Once a person looks at the gain, they can then identify a healthier activity/action that could also provide a similar gain, and then replace what they are giving up with that new healthier alternative. To try and just quit something ignores the fact that even bad habits fill an emotional hole in people's lives. You have to find something else to fill that emotional spot if you are going to be successful in editing out those things you  know you’re better off without.

So the simple rule to help you keep your resolution is this: do not just quit/cut back, but quit/cut back AND simultaneously add something in. Plus minus. It’s the best recipe for success.

What’s your resolution?

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