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New Year, New You? Take the Pressure Off Instead and Plan to Succeed

2020 was, well, 2020. 2021 had its fair share of ups and downs too. But now, it’s 2022 and this is the year. You have the best of intentions. You’re ready to put the troubles of the past behind you and get back on track. Whether it’s shedding those few extra holiday pounds, getting more active or finally freeing yourself of a bad habit. This year, maybe more than ever before, we are determined to make 2022 the year to succeed.  Yet, that determination may be the one thing holding you back from actually reaching your goal.

It sounds strange.  How could your well-placed resolve be a hindrance on your path to your best you?  Maybe because you put too much pressure on yourself.  

“Often we have extremely high expectations for ourselves,” Julie Adams, Director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone said.  “We have our sights set on changing a behavior and expect to do so overnight.  It’s unrealistic and not quite that simple.” 

Sound familiar?  Likely it does.  Yet the good news is, you can reach the goal you’ve set for yourself.  You can most certainly learn to manage your reaction to your personal stressors, discard a habit you wish to change, or even lose unwanted pounds by giving yourself time and being prepared for setbacks. 

“Only focusing on the main goal can cause frustration when you may slip up on your journey to change,” Adams said.  “It is best to forgive yourself during these times.  Instead, focus on the steps you have taken to succeed!  The small wins are valuable.  Remind yourself that you are working towards a goal and with each day you will continue to do so.  Eventually, slip ups will become far less frequent and your goal will be that much closer to reality.”

Adams’ colleague and Assistant Director, Venee Hummel, agrees and suggests being able to pivot your perspective if necessary.  “Break the goal down into achievable action steps,” Hummel said.  “Commit to working on those actions steps.  This will help with achieving the goal, but if you only see one path to that goal it may not be as easy to obtain.” 

Both Adams and Hummel also stress the importance of making sure your goals are achievable in the timeline you decided upon.   For instance, changing a lifelong behavior isn’t going to happen just because the clock struck midnight and the ball dropped. 

“Change is a process and it takes gradual movement in the direction of the change to finally reach the intended outcome, “Adams said. 

Lastly, remember it’s okay to ask for help.  Whether it’s from your own support system such as family and friends or from an outside source such as therapists at the Cohen Clinic at Centerstone, achieving whatever goal you set out to accomplish can feel a bit more doable when others are cheering you on too. If you’d like more help on making 2022 your year and would like to make an appointment at the Cohen Clinic at Centerstone visit https://centerstone.org/cohen-military-family-clinic/ or call at 931-221-3850.

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