1. Health
Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Why Itís Not Too LateóAnd Perhaps It's The Perfect Time!

By February 10, 2014

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If on February 1st, you took a look at your lifestyle and found that it wasn't profoundly different from January 1st--or at least it wasn't different in the ways that you had hoped!--you may be starting to doubt your ability to make important, stress-relieving changes in your life.

At least you're in good company!

Countless people find themselves doing the same thing around this time of year! Gym parking lots--always so packed during the month of January--start seeing more vacant parking spots. Schedules start filling up again, dessert starts looking better and better. If you're trying to change from sheer willpower and perfectionistic adherence to a stringent code of desired behavior for yourself, you may start feeling fatigued. You may have already slipped, or fallen off the wagon completely. You may be wondering if it's worth the effort to make changes.

First, I can tell you that it absolutely is! If you're reading this, it means that you care about making healthy changes in your life and want to relieve stress. Your goals aren't the problem, and using the new year as a springboard for change can work out very well. (And if you're one of the readers who didn't set goals for January, I implore you to take the opportunity to set some now!) But perhaps you're succumbing to common pitfalls that many people find challenging. This is all part of the process. In fact, with my coaching clients, I always mention that somewhere between Week 3 and Week 8, we usually see a dip in progress--the initial excitement of reaching new goals has worn off, and the work is starting to feel more challenging. The following are common impediments to change:

  • Perfectionism: are you expecting perfection immediately, or are you gradually working up to your goal?
  • All-Or-Nothing Thinking: if you find yourself slipping up, are you tempted to give up completely, or do you consider slipups to be a normal part of the process?
  • Pessimism: do you consider backsliding a sign that you're not cut out to make these changes, or do you congratulate yourself when you catch the backsliding, knowing that redirecting yourself back toward your goal is a big step toward success?
  • Support: do you have people in your life making the achievement of goals more difficult for you, or easier?
  • Flexibility: do you stick with a plan that doesn't fit your lifestyle until you can't take it anymore, or are you able to shift gears and find a plan that does work for you?
Now is the perfect time to stop and take a look at what's working, what's not working, and why. Success may be as simple as recommitting yourself to trying again, or as involved as examining what's made change difficult so far, and seeing what you can do to overcome your obstacles. But now is the time to take these steps, envisioning your goal and keeping it in your mind for motivation.

The following links can help:

So, how are you coming with your goals? What's working, and what's not? Share your tips, trials, and experiences here. And if you enjoyed this blog, please feel free to spread the encouragement and share it!

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February 1, 2010 at 7:14 am
(1) Beth says:

I was going to get more sleep, exercise more, and try meditation. I did make some progress–at least I’m thinking about these things more!–but I’m glad to be getting a fresh start on my fresh start. I know I can do better!

February 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm
(2) Jean says:

I was just thinking about this yesterday! I’d kind of given up about a week ago. Maybe this is what I need to start over on my plan to eat healthy and exercise, which is what I usually resolve to do every year. I’ll see if I can get a buddy to join me :)

February 6, 2010 at 10:51 am
(3) Tiffane says:

I have been trying to exercise, and I was doing good up untill last week. I am just starting out, so I wanted to do 10 minutes every day, but I only ended up doing it 2 times last week. I am going to really try to do it, because once I make a ruteen out of it, it’s going to be really easy.

February 19, 2010 at 5:34 am
(4) DebraC says:

When it comes to setting goals relating to your home like reducing clutter, it’s a good idea to set realistic and achievable goals. Just like with any other areas of your life, you want the goals to be challenging but not so overwhelming that you can’t get them done.

February 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm
(5) Sheila Zene says:

I have set goals and I still have hope that in time I can accomplish those goals that I have set for myself. Such as being 100% smoke free & saving money. I was so excited about my New Year fresh start and now I feel like a failure in many ways. I’m in the process of going through a break up with my LOSER X, my son and I will soon be moving to a new place hopefully and making a fresh start in a new home of our own.

I struggle every single day, not to give up. I suppose my primary motivation that keeps me going is my son. I will keep trying for him and yes for myself also.

I hope to someday get there. A place of happiness & peace.

February 13, 2013 at 5:19 am
(6) stress says:

What great, important changes you’re making, Sheila! Good for you! How wonderful to make a better, healthier life for yourself and your son. Please let us know how it goes–as a former smoking cessation counselor, I love hearing your determination. I know you can do it!!

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