Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: The New Year

Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: The New Year

by Hilary Valdez
Stripes Okinawa

Exercise more. Lose weight. Get organized. Lose more weight. Quit smoking and drinking. Prepare for the New York City Marathon. Really? We have all tried this before. Unless you have a specific measurable goal in mind, your progress will be slow to stop. A lot of folks fail after making their New Year’s resolution. Just look at last year. Are you happy with your progress? What did you set out to do? Did you make progress?

“If you are a typical American, there’s about a 28 percent chance that you have already given up on your New Year's resolution by now–the 9th of January. 32 percent after two weeks, 42 percent after one month and 56 percent after six months; 80 percent fail within three months. We begin to dream of new possible selves. We make some half-hearted resolution, and it evaporates after a week or two”. According to Neil Farber, M.D, Ph.D.

Dr. Farber goes on to say, “”One of the most frequent reasons resolutions become dissolutions is their lack of realism. “I’m going to be President of the company,” “I’m going to walk to work every day,” “I’m never going to eat junk food.” While there are healthy components to each of these goals, they are obviously unrealistic in scope. Don’t use goals that include always or never. Unfortunately, for those who believe in a law of attraction it is not true that every goal is attainable–you think, and it happens. Be optimistic and realistic. Be resolute to attain what is truly attainable by you–not a fantasized unrealistic version of you).”

My suggestion is don’t beat yourself up for not accomplishing your goals: It hurst your self-confidence and self-image. Lighten-up, be nice to yourself. If you want to lose weight, just have that one goal, and make it measurable: one pound every two weeks. Okay, maybe have two goals: I’m  going to build a garage: but first, plan it out, be prepared, do your research what is possible what is impractical. I lost 100 pounds in one year. But first, I went to get a checkup and consulted with a dietician, then made my plan. Implementing my plan was difficult. It meant changing my engrained habits: not munching, eating sweets, not exercising, being lazy. When I got weak and had an emergency donut, I didn’t continue eating donuts. I looked at that moment as a reward for staying true to the course. You have to reward yourself for your achievements. But not too much.

When you make your New Year’s Resolutions, look at your dreams. In your dream lies your direction. What is your aspiration? Do you want to be a Ballerina? An Actor? A Pastry Chef? Well, take few lessons and see if the dream fits for you. The point is to have a goal that  goes along with your dream. This way your priorities go along with your dreams and your commitment to yourself. We only have so much time in life, so don’t have a laundry list of goals.

“You must choose personal projects that have meaning for you. They must embody your values, resonate with your identity. Having a clear vision of a wonderful future is the first necessary action step-but it typically stirs up a set of emotional roadblocks. Should we falter, we walk away a bit damaged. The experience registers on us, chips away at our sense of self and makes us feel less successful. We think we aren't very good. It leads us to discount our ability to change in the future. Self-change is one of the most difficult things we can do. Between us as we are now, and us in the image of our ideal self stands the bulldog fact of our - ingrained habits.” Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa.

So, march straight “fear-ward!” People are forgetful. Write your goals on a sticky-tag and tape it to the refrigerator. Keep a journal. Send yourself and e-mail. Tell your friends about your goals, this might pressure you to keep your goals. Last, my humble suggestions are to: Don’t buy things your don’t need; take the stairs, drink more water; avoid negative people; be positive; smile more; be more grateful; walk more; donate old clothes; increase your personal charm points ‘let your bubbly personality sparkle to the world;’ pay off your credit cards (Grrr); be peaceful and positive, spread love, not hate. Now you know the rest of the story! Wake up in the morning and jump out of bed like warm toast and greet the new day! Thrive in the idea that you are alive! Rejoice in your new day. Sadly, not everyone makes it through the night. Again, be grateful. Be positive. Go forth and achieve your New Year Resolutions. Wrestle that bear!
Hilary Valdez is a retiree living in Japan. He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle. Learn more about Valdez and contact him at the website or email. Follow his YouTube channel Hilary’s Quick Talk for more insights.

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