by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 28, 2018 how to reach your goal, new years resolution0 comments
Live Your Best Life, How to Slay anything in 2019.
New year, new you? Well, maybe, whether you will be a wistful dreamer or a winning achiever of your New Year’s resolution really dwindles down to this; ‘How do you mentally prepare yourself for the process of change?’ We all look forward to the prospect of a new year, we start off with a fantastically shiny hope, we can do anything with these next 365 days of our life. Yet, for all of this hope and enthusiasm, why do the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail in the first month? We can explain some of these failed resolutions by applying the theory of behavioral psychology. We wellness warriors, trudging onward to 2019, sails full with the winds of enthusiasm, need to be sure we are beginning our voyage with the right motivations, or we just might end up deflated and completely off course. If we have an internally damaging way of nurturing our New Year’s whispers of inspiration, we can rest assured our achievements will fall as flat as the last sip of kombucha that lines our almost empty cup. Our counselors have worked together to create a sequence of effective pieces of psychological advice which will kick-start any of your New Year’s wellness goals.
Get real with yourself, meaning where are you right now and where do you want to be?
This is about stepping away from the potential delusions of your thinking and recognizing where you are, honestly. If you are an echoing scream away from your goal, it is going to take some time to get there. Using weight as one example, if you are currently 300 lbs, and you aspire to weigh in at 150 lbs, it will take many years and much effort for you to arrive at that destination. Maybe you want to start with making an appointment with a personal trainer and a nutritionist or a dietitian. Another example might be that you want to have better boundaries with other people in your life. Be ‘real’ about while jotting down your list. It takes gusto and strength to record your truth about areas for growth such as your inability to say ‘no’ to others and the amount of inexplicable guilt that you feel when you attempt to draw boundaries. Yet it is by insight that we can make great progress toward our goals.
The second part of this sequence is that after you examine where you are and where you would like to be, your goals must be broken down into achievable units. We humans don’t do well with goals that are too large. If for instance you want to write a book this year, instead of focusing on the larger goal of completing the whole text you will do best by focusing on small goals daily. Writing 500 words a day is a well achievable micro goal that will inch you toward the end result. Why does this work? According to Psyche Study, ‘Behavioral psychology defines the mechanism of ‘shaping’ to describe the slow process of behavioral change where we are rewarded for each step toward reaching the final goal.’ We nudge ourselves toward the finish line. In the process of shaping these small changes, we feel empowered by the daily act of achieving our successes instead of potentially losing focus if our overarching goal is so big that the reward for making it there is too far off.
Give yourself rewards
There is a long standing debate and research query which examines whether punishment or reward is better to help us change our behavior. According to recent research from Harvard Business Review, if you are going to maintain the enthusiasm and hope that is driving your desired progress towards change, you must create rewards for yourself. In this particular study, it was noted that punishment, and the fear that it evokes, can cause people to ‘freeze’ instead of act. Think about the proverbial deer in the headlights. Again, with reference to behavioral psychology and the field of human learning and behavior, humans and animals are more inspired by positive reinforcement than punishment. We move toward what is pleasurable, especially if the reward is well timed to be given right after reaching each small segment of our goal. That means that when we have that internal voice which tells us we are slugs because we didn’t reach our goal, we are not helping our situation. It is the promise of something that is rewarding which really propels us to go harder and longer in the journey to ‘live our best life.’
What is it that you are planning to work on for your New Year goal? Always first ask yourself this, we all want to achieve things but are you ready to put in the work to achieve your goal? If the answer is yes, move onward and use this as a template to assess your goals and move yourself one step closer to where you want to be!
In relation to your goal, where are you now?
What do you hope to achieve, what is your long term goal?
Break the above mentioned goal into daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
How can you reward yourself on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy year of wellness,
Harvard Business Review, What Motivates Employees More, Rewards or Punishments? https://hbr.org/2017/09/what-motivates-employees-more-rewards-or-punishments
Psychestudy, Online Journal on human behavior and psychology. What is shaping behavior? https://www.psychestudy.com/behavioral/learning-memory/operant-conditioning/what-is-shaping-behaviorLearn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 22, 2018 dietitian nutritionist, healthy eating, healthy holiday0 comments
Holiday-Nutrition and Health Tips
Having a Healthy Holiday
The holidays are here and along with them we have tremendous potential for time with loved ones, a flurry of new and exciting opportunities to celebrate. Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years blessings do not end with togetherness. Eating and breaking that celebrated bread are one of the most fundamental ways that we have come together to enjoy the wintry reprieve, in fact when asking many people what the most memorable part of a holiday is, they often rely upon descriptions of tastes and time honored recipes prepared by loved ones. With all of this focus upon food it is no wonder that according to Stanford University researcher, the average person gains at least one pound over the holidays. While the one pound does not necessarily wreck your waistline or over all health, it can cause potential problems if this pound is gained every year without ever coming off. With much to lose, let us examine ways to forgo the potential pitfalls of all of this holiday joy.
Controlling your portion size is one of the most underutilized means to both enjoy some of those delicious holiday treats while not over indulging. Typically a serving size is much smaller than we imagine and a heaping plate of nutrient dense foods is full of more calories than we may need in a day. When it comes to desserts and cookies, there may not even be a recommended serving size but that does not mean that we shouldn’t indulge, a little bit happens to go a long way.
In addition to portion control, we should all make a habit of slowing down when we are enjoying seasonal delicacies. This means being very aware of each bite that you take, to chew it slowly and completely. Chewing and eating can become a form of meditation when we cherish and focus upon it. In fact, mindful eating can be a very valuable tool to enhance our experience with food. Take the time to smell it, to consider the texture, the taste, and experience of each single bite.
Create Opportunities For Fitness in Your Down Time
Being fit and maintaining health do not happen as an exclusive result of going to the gym, we can be fit by creating exercise within our own home and daily routine. During the holidays, all of the parents recognize that they have more time with the kids who are off from school, use this as an opportunity to share in physical play, lots of tag and hide and seek will help. If you have lots of house hold chores, you can easily make fitness repetitions out of them, standing in the kitchen baking some bread, bring awareness and strength to rolling out those cookies, or why not do some squats as you shuffle dishes in and out of the oven.
Most of these recommendations do not end for the holidays but are great ways to stay well all through out the year.
In health and wellness,
Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh
*This article does not take the place of medical advice, if you have a medical condition or diagnosis, before making any changes to your diet, you should consult your physician or Nutritionist.
Deborah Balfanz, PhD, 2018, Stanford University Blog ‘How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.’Learn More