Reflecting and Resolving to Change

rhn-reflectionThis blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Leslie Kolb, MSW, ASW.

As we find ourselves heading into a brand new year, many of us will resolve to change our behaviors or habits with the intention of being healthier, more balanced, or happier. Sometimes it’s clear which behaviors we want or need to change—perhaps you have been wanting to lose that last five pounds, or maybe you want to start getting more sleep each night. But if you are hesitant or unclear about what changes to make in the New Year, take some time to reflect on the last year. What would you have done differently? What areas do you feel you could improve in the coming year?

When reflecting, try to remember that resolutions do not have to be about fixing past regrets, but should be more about adjusting choices and behaviors to benefit your well-being. Look back and consider what did not work well for you over the past year. Did you find yourself staying up late to watch television and then falling asleep at work the next day? Or did you find yourself gaining weight due to eating when you were bored, stressed, or sad, even if you weren’t hungry?

Once you’ve identified some behaviors you might like to change, consider if you’ve attempted to change those behaviors before. Perhaps last year at this time you resolved to lose five pounds and joined a gym but stopped working out after a few weeks. Ask yourself, what about that plan did not work? Looking back, you might realize that you stopped going to the gym on the way home because you often forgot to take your gym bag with you to work. Or maybe a different form of exercise keeps you more interested, like yoga or jogging. Identify what might work better, make that change, and then give it another shot.

Remember—there may be slip ups along the way. You might skip the gym one night or end up binge watching episodes of your favorite show and lose some much-needed hours of sleep. But resolving to change your behavior is less about perfection and more about moving in the right direction. If you skip a day at the gym, go the next day. Try not to give up just because you briefly fell back into an old habit. If you can allow yourself the possibility that changing your behavior will take practice and time, you might be surprised with the outcome by this time next year.

Elana Clark-Faler
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