Zion National Park Mountain Goats

Happy New Year 2018! 

Reflections on the past year and recent news items:  

It is hard to believe we have come to the end of another year and are off to a new start with 2018.  In a way, it has been a difficult year for many-reminders of the 1 year anniversary of the local Pulse tragedy, more mass shootings, threats of terrorism at both home and abroad, a government that is in disarray, and a seeming lack of understanding of the meaning of truth, with alternative “facts” leaving many to wonder what this world has come to.

 There have been some very positive developments this past year with the “#me too” movement demonstrating the widespread prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault that has become all too common in our society following the disclosure of the multiple Harvey Weinstein allegations.  This has been followed by another recent movement of “#time’s up” underscoring the strength of powerful, wealthy women in the entertainment industry and beyond in seeking legal recourse for those affected by the trauma of sexual abuse by (often) powerful men.

The events of this past year (both good and bad) prompt me to examine even more closely the prejudices we sometimes harbor, even when we do not realize we may be observing others with a more critical or judgmental eye.  With the election of a new President last year, issue of racism, gender equality, misogyny, and shocking vulgarities involving perceived “lesser valuable” countries has caused many to scratch their heads wondering when we suddenly became so judgmental, exclusive, or rejecting of others.  Maybe we need to think about how we can do just the opposite- invite people different from us into a discussion of those differences, learning about their culture, experiences or history of exclusion.  Maybe we would end up learning some valuable information about the history or experience of another, possibly make a connection or even a friendship. 

 2018 Goal-Setting:

I’ve read that about 50% of people set New Year’s resolutions, according to human behavior expert, Melanie Wilding.  However, only about 8% actually achieve their goals.  Why is this?  I notice that today- about the end of the third week of January, the parking lot at my gym is still fairly full-suggesting that the motivation to get healthy and improve on the goal of exercise is still in full swing.  However, I wonder, how long will this last?  What is the key to finding success in actually achieving the goals I set?  Let’s discuss a few reminders for achieving those 2018 resolutions. 

1.)  Make a plan that ensures success- Create action steps to achieve that goal with smaller, incremental steps along the way.  Reward yourself for mini achievements along the way.

2.)  Visualize yourself being successful and achieving the goal- Hang up a picture of what it is you want as an incentive.

3.)  Write down your goal as a reminder.  Lee Iacocca said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”  I believe there really is something to this.

4.)  Check your progress at regular intervals.  I like the idea of weekly weigh-ins for those setting weight loss goals.  Try not to set yourself up for failure by giving in to pessimism if you take a step backward. 

5.)  If you find yourself not making the progress you anticipated and you believe you really put forth good effort, consider hiring a coach, talking with a loved one or friend, or talking with an expert who can help support you.

 Wishing you a Happy, Healthy 2018!


Linda Cook, LMHC