Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution and slipped up? If you answered “Yes!” to this question, you’re not alone. Better mental health involves checking in yourself and making changes.
Patricia Wakefield, who treats patients using LiveHealth Online Psychology, suggests 3 tips to help you figure out how to increase the odds that your change plans will succeed this year.
- Start with strengths. You are more likely to succeed in change if you use your strengths. Bear in mind that our tricky brains sometimes keep us from seeing ourselves clearly. Consider making a support system to help you build on your strengths. For example, plan on checking in with a good friend, a wellness coach, or a mental health professional. Your physician can help make sure your goals are reasonable and healthy. A fitness professional can assess your current fitness level and help you set goals.
- Figure out your stage of change and plan accordingly. Some people leap out of bed in the morning and are well on their way to their goal. Most of us need to work through a process: first believing that change is the best thing for us, then convincing ourselves we can do it, and finally developing the skills to overcome the inevitable obstacles. You will need different kinds of help depending on which stage of change you find yourself.
- Accept that you will slip up and return to trying. Change is about learning and making mistakes. You won’t always get it right and that is okay. You are more likely to change if you take small, consistent steps in the right direction and forgive yourself when you slip up.
Comments and opinions are from Patricia Wakefield, LCSW (PA), LICSW (MA), LMSW (MI), alone. She is a licensed-therapist who treats patients using LiveHealth Online Psychology.