Monday Medical: Turning dreams into actions
December 30, 2012
At this time of year, New Year's resolutions are a common topic of conversation.
However, we know that sometimes our resolutions are not successful. Even with the best intentions, we might fall short of losing 10 pounds, learning a new language or taking that Pilates class.
When we create New Year's resolutions we often are trying to change a bad habit. A better way to approach change is to think about what you want to create for yourself — like a bucket list. In that frame of mind, your thinking becomes more positive.
"Most people don't change instantly for the better, just as they did not become overweight or develop other health problems overnight," said Lisa Bankard, Wellness and Community Education director at Yampa Valley Medical Center.
"It's all about motivation and desire," Bankard said. "What can you do today that will move you toward what you want?
"Make your immediate goal achievable by breaking it into little steps that you can accomplish. Frame your goal in specific, positive, measurable terms, such as 'I will eat fruit with every meal,' or 'I will get some exercise for 20 minutes every day.'"
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Changes take time
"Some people can go cold turkey to change a habit," Bankard said, "but most of us need time to practice the new behavior for at least 21 consecutive days."
According to Bankard, positive change is not about depriving yourself; it's more about having a very clear, detailed picture of what you want.
Write it down
What small actions do you think will make a difference in your life during the coming year? Take a few minutes before 2013 arrives and list the new experiences or achievements you want to enjoy in the next 12 months.
What do you value most? How can you incorporate what's most important to you into your everyday life? To be effective, your list should be:
■ Specific. If your goal is more travel, where and when do you want to travel?
■ Doable. Here is where dreams interface with life. What can you do right now to move toward what you want to accomplish or experience?
■ Measurable. What actions should you take toward your dreams today, this week and this month? Remember that all change involves work. Are you ready to do this? How will you hold yourself accountable? Consider checking in with friends who also are working on their goals whether that means tap dancing, novel writing, weight loss or a better score in their golf game.
■ Reality checked. If you're aspiring to learn a new language, what method works with your schedule? Does taking a class work for you or listening to CDs in your car?
■ Enjoyable. Small steps, enjoyed for their own sake, make attaining a desirable goal all the more satisfying.
Life happens right now, and enjoying the process is the key to success.
"Don't miss out on the greatest year of your life so far," Bankard said. "Dream big, make it real by writing it down, and enjoy every step you take along the way."
Patricia Moore is a marketing and communications specialist at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.