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Made any new year's resolutions yet?

The year 2018 has arrived!

Let's talk new year's resolutions. These traditional promises date back to the ancient Babylonians. Agreements were made and debts were paid to signify the fresh start of a new era. As many of you may already know, new year's resolutions may be necessary but not always straightforward. According to studies, the most common new year's resolutions are:

- Eat healthier foods. - Exercise more. - Learn a new skill or hobby. - Invest in personal well-being. - Stop smoking. - Improve relationships with friends/ family.

Some resolutions are more achievable than others and the first steps into making lifestyle changes may be riddled with feelings of fear, apprehension and anxiety. Your confidence and belief in making shifts determine whether you are successful in changing for good. It is one thing to know what you want to change, but another to know how to get there.

The most common goal my clients share is: "I want to feel better". A valid goal of course, but I always follow up by narrowing down the statement. Firstly, I encourage clients to write down their responses. Visualising your goals/resolutions help to promote drive and motivation. Also, I ask clients to share why this goal is important and relevant to them. This gives them the chance to check the goal is applicable and realistic. Clients then jot down the pros & cons of their goal to further cement their readiness and prepare them for potential setbacks.

Write down step-by-step, how to achieve your goal. Try to be really specific. For example:

Client: "I want to feel better."

Step-by-step guide :

- Walk to town/work/shops instead of taking the car/bus. - Once a fortnight, phone a friend/family member and arrange a catch-up. - Every week, dedicate half an hour on relaxation/mindfulness exercises. (Find video/voice guidance on YouTube).

As you can see, specific, bite-sized steps are practical and more importantly manageable. When each step is completed, congratulate yourself and be proud of your efforts. The sense of commitment invested can boost your confidence for change.

The key to new year's resolution success is knowing your unhelpful habits. This knowledge hands you the control and power on whether or not to curb your dysfunctional behaviours.

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