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How To Get What You Want Out Of The New Year

 Goal Setting Skills For The New Year or Any Time

By Elizabeth Scott, M.S., About.com Guide              Updated January 03, 2011 

Every year, throngs of people—maybe even you—choose a list of resolutions for the next year. Generally, these are habits they will try to do every day, or habits they will try to avoid for as long as they can. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions are forgotten by March. A major reason for this is that it’s deceptively difficult to develop or deny ingrained habits ‘cold turkey’.

While the effort to adopt resolution shows a wonderful sense of positive intent, a better alternative is to develop new goals for the future. Goals are a better plan than resolutions for a few key reasons:

Rigid vs. Fluid:

Resolutions stay the same: “I will go to bed by 10pm.” “I will stop eating junk.” “I will go to the gym five times a week.” If these are somewhat big changes, it may feel like a huge change with no buildup. Goals, however, can be tackled in steps, beginning with baby steps and increasing in difficulty as you become more accustomed to the change. This makes goals more realistic for lasting change.

Sense of Accomplishment vs. Sense of Failure:

Goals give you a direction to aspire to, but with the baby steps you may be taking toward your goal, you can still feel like you’ve accomplished something and are on the right track, which will, in turn, keep you moving in the right direction. Once you’ve broken a rigid resolution, however, it’s easier to feel like a failure and give up.

goal setting

The Scope of the Change:

Resolutions are usually a means to a goal, but if you find a resolution too difficult to stick to, it’s usually dropped and forgotten. With goals, if you find a planned change too difficult to carry out, you can drop that plan, but pick a different new behavior to try that will still lead to the same end result, and not lose sight of the goal. For example, imagine you want to get in the habit of exercising to be in better shape. You might make a resolution to go to the gym five times a week. But if you find that you just hate the gym, you probably won’t stick to your resolution, and you’ll be no closer to your goal. However, if you make ‘getting more exercise’ the goal, you may drop the gym, but switch to walking through your neighborhood each morning, and still meet your goal.

Now that you know some of why resolutions often fail and goals are a more realistic route, here are some tips for setting goals you can get behind: 

Keep your future in mind.

Think of what you would have in your ideal life, and where you’d like to be in two, five, or even ten years, and see if your goals bring you closer to that picture. If so, they’re good goals to stick with. If you can keep in your mind the image of where you would ultimately like your goals to take you, it’s easier to stick with them.

Think in terms of broad changes rather than specific behaviors.

For instance, resolving to “Develop A Stress Management Practice” gives more room for growth and change than “Do Yoga Every Morning”. While you’ll want to put your broad goals into specific behaviors, deciding to Develop a Stress Management Practice gives you room to experiment, and allows you to change course if you find that Yoga isn’t working for you.

Think in terms of what you’d like to add to your life, rather than what you’d like to take away.

For example, instead of making the goal to “Eat Less Unhealthy Food”, focus on trying to “Eat More Healthy Food”. You may subconsciously feel more deprived if you think of taking something awayrather than adding something good, and if you replace unhealthy food in your diet with healthy food, the same goal is accomplished. Also, it’s usually easier to add a behavior than to stop a behavior.

Once you have your goals set, keep them in the forefront of your mind. Keep them listed in your day-planner, have them as part of your screen saver, or post-it them in prominent places around your house for a while. Reward yourself with something small for continuing to stick with it, until you make enough progress toward your goals that the progress becomes its own reward. And remember that change doesn’t come overnight, but as you work toward developing what is important to you, the change will come, and it will be lasting. Remember this, and enjoy building the life you were meant to live!

source: about.com

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Healthy Goal Setting

Dr. Neala Peake, selected from AllThingsHealing.com        August 31, 2012

by Michael Jones, WHE, CMT, Co-Editor of Holistic Nutrition on Allthingshealing.com
Editor’s Note from Michael Jones: Being healthy doesn’t have to be so difficult. Simply focus on one aspect of your health at a time. Remember small steps make a big change.
We all have goals we want to achieve. Whether it is short-term or long-term, we need a plan to make them a reality. When you want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, first think about why you desire to make a change. Do you want to lose weight, management a physical aliment or just know it’s time to create something better and different in your life?
Next, you want to start out slowly. When you take small steps, you are more successful. You are able to really focus on that specific thing, so you’re not overwhelmed. So, start out your week with one primary goal. For example, initially… I will focus on drinking more water. Let your week be about taking steps to increase your intake and finishing those bottles of water. Once you have finally adopted that healthy habit, then you move on to the next. Again, the goal is not to create more than you can handle. Because when you do… you will give up and turn back to your unhealthy ways.
Goals are all about moving forward in life. We have these objectives to give us a “meaning” or “purpose”. You will feel good at the end of the day once you’ve accomplished your daily tasks. So make healthy goals to live an active, prolonged life. Health doesn’t have to be this hard, stressful mountain to climb. When you take it slow, you are able to really educate yourself. You want to learn more about why you are making this change, and it is wonderful to take the time to feel, see and appreciate the differences in your body.
Setting healthy goals is a step forward in living the life you truly want to live.
source: care2.com


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3 Ways to Banish a Bad Habit

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor     August 21, 2012

Bad habits happen—even to good people.
Whether it’s biting your nails, or putting off a big project, everyone has those little routines that aren’t so healthy or helpful.
What makes a particular pattern of behavior “bad?”
Lori Campbell, gerontologist and author of “Awaken Your Age Potential,” says that a habit should be considered bad if it’s harmful to you or other people. This simple-sounding definition encompasses a wide variety of behaviors—from unhealthy eating, to compulsive shopping.
The birth of a bad habit
Habits themselves are neutral, subconscious patterns of behavior that people learn by repeating an action. Once they are formed, these patterns act as neural short-cuts, helping the brain save energy for more complex tasks. With habits you don’t think—you just do.
But, because a person isn’t thinking about the potential consequences of their actions, this lack of attention can quickly lead to the formation of bad habits. “Most people go through life letting things ‘just happen’ to them,” Campbell says, “They make reactive responses quickly and without much thought.”
These reactive responses occur more frequently when a person is confronted by stress. Sheila Foreman, J.D., Ph.D., a clinical psychologist says that most harmful habits spring from maladaptive coping techniques to difficult situations.
Reaching into the freezer for a tub of Chunky Money as soon as you come home from work is the perfect example of such a technique. Digging your spoon into that sugary, icy vice is a quick, yet ineffective way to give your stressed-out brain the infusion of feel-good hormones it’s craving after a long day at the office.
Don’t break it, replace it
Bad habits are often formed as a result of subliminal pleasure-seeking. This makes attention and awareness the most potent enemies of unhealthy routines, and two valuable tools that can be used to rid yourself of harmful patterns of behavior.

Here are some techniques to help you defeat your damaging behaviors:

1. Recognize-Before you can get rid of a harmful habit, you must first be able to recognize it Habits, by definition, are automatic patterns of behavior, which is why Campbell stresses the importance of mindfulness in day-to-day life. Turn your attention to your habits—the good and the bad. Figure out which behaviors you want to change and what challenges you’ll face while trying to overcome them. Whether you’re aiming to break out of a fast food rut or seeking to get a better handle on your temper, pre-planning and goal-setting are both effective methods of working towards an achievement like breaking a bad habit.

2. Visualize-Don’t dwell too long on the negative routine. Instead, figure out what positive habits you want to replace it with. Both Foreman and Campbell suggest swapping out damaging behaviors with healthier alternatives. For example, if you love to drink diet soda, try gradually replacing your daily bottles of pop with glasses of water. In your mind, picture yourself drinking the water, think about how good it will make you feel and how much healthier you’ll be as a result.

3. Affirm-An affirmation is essentially a verbalization of the goal you’re seeking and why it’s beneficial for you. In the diet soda example, some good affirmations might be: A healthy body is the key to leading a better life, I am treating my body with respect so that it will last me as I get older, etc.
Experts differ on their estimations of how long it takes to form a new habit. Some say it can happen in as little as three or four weeks, but some studies say that the road may be a little longer.
Consistency is the key to rapidly replacing damaging behaviors with healthy ones, according to Foreman.
A study published by the University College of London found that people who were trying to incorporate more healthy behaviors into their daily routines—eating an extra piece of fruit or going for a short run—required an average of 66 days of regular adherence to their new routines for them to become second-nature.
You may be able to shorten your healthy habit adoption time by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. “So many bad habits are socially accepted and people tend to want to ‘fit in’ rather than be healthy,” Campbell says, “Start hanging around with people that emulate and live out your desired new habit.”

source: care2.com    AgingCare.com 


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Change for the better

We live in a world of information overload …
Stress & pressure jab at us every day …
But we all deserve good health, and we can make it a priority in our lives.

A little at a time – build healthy habits into your life. Start with just one small thing … then add one more … soon you can be on your way to a smarter, healthier way of life.