Tag - Resolutions

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The Power of Habit
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Bring On the New Year!

The Power of Habit

By: Rorie Dunphey

Have you ever ‘decided’ to make changes to your health (lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising…), only to be disappointed in yourself days or weeks later having ‘failed’? You may feel disappointed in yourself due to a ‘lack of willpower’ or simply feel overwhelmed by how hard it is to change. In fact, change is not a ‘decision’, but rather it is a process that takes time and patience.

Don’t underestimate the power of habit! Habit formation (whether starting or stopping a behavior) is both physical and psychological. Our brain actually creates neural pathways for new behaviors. Our body and mind are in the habit of behaving in a certain way, and it can take time for a new habit to form or an old habit to diminish.

Change is a process, not an event. Here are some tips to help create healthy habits:

  • Practice patience. Research tells us that it takes as much as 180 days to truly let go of an old habit and adopt a new one. So hang in there!
  • Stop beating yourself up! Putting yourself down if you find yourself engaged in the old habit can damage our confidence. Instead, practice positive thinking and be compassionate with yourself.
  • Celebrate catching yourself. Instead of putting yourself down for ‘being weak’, congratulate yourself for being aware. Each time you catch yourself and become aware, you will build confidence and motivation.
  • Use structures to help remind yourself about the new behavior or goal. For example, put sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, set an alarm on your phone, or link the new behavior to something you already do (like walking right after breakfast).
  • Involve others in your goal. Let family, friends or co-workers know you are working to change. Enlist support and feedback to help. Find a partner with a similar goal to help motivate each other!
  • Work with a health coach or healthcare provider. They can provide support and accountability during the process of habit formation.

Don’t wait until New Years to make healthy changes in your life. Habits can be changed or created any time of year!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

 

Bring On the New Year!

By: Mary L. Collins

New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions. Dreaded, resolutions.

What will yours be for 2017?

More exercise? Better diet? Finally cleaning out that “catch-all” drawer in your kitchen?

How about – be a little kinder to yourself and less self-critical?

Statistically, less than 50% of people who make New Year’s resolutions (1 in 3 of us does) are still on track with their resolution 6 months later. Most crash and burn (54% to be exact) within the first month. And, as we age, our resolve to even suggest a resolution for the new year wanes.

So why do we do it?

One person called it, “A triumph of hope over experience.” It is our desire to do better and to achieve more that propels us forward into the “resolution zone.” And, in that thought, comes this idea of being kinder to and less critical of ourselves.

So how does that happen while we’re smack dab in the middle of the season of giving?

Hard to say. But let’s try.

I was told by a friend and colleague recently that, “Your compassion is your Achilles heel.” Interesting assessment! Yes, I do all that I can to consider others’ feelings and needs and to be kind. It’s how I was raised and it’s the way I want to conduct myself in the world. I truly think it is right to set the best example I can for myself, for my son, and for anyone in my ever-widening circle. But, perhaps, my friend was right. In my quest to do good and right things, am I reluctant to include the self-care that I need in order to function at my best? Do I rest on self-criticism because whatever I did or didn’t do in some particular situation wasn’t quite “up to standard,” not quite “good enough?” Yep, my friend may be right. I bet you do the same things and evaluate yourself almost exactly as I do. Hopeless self-sacrificers, aren’t we!

The fact is, among people within the healthcare field, it is our job to “care.” Caring, is, after all, our mission and mandate. Nurses, therapists, nursing assistants, hospice volunteers, personal care attendants and all others who serve have a responsibility to provide respectful, professional care to our patients and clients. To shirk this duty is not only acting out of integrity, it can also be an actionable offense.  Truly, I believe those who are in helping professions really do enjoy and gain deep satisfaction from helping and providing care. We just aren’t always as good at providing it in equal measure to ourselves.

Have you ever seen an overweight nurse? Met a therapist who smokes? Known a volunteer who looks tired or distracted? Might you be one of these people yourself? If so, I ask you to consider a thought that may make a huge difference in your wellbeing; and, perhaps, as a result, will present a stronger you to whoever you care for and about. It is this:

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

– Christopher Germer*

Easier said than done.  So, now, here’s where you need to make your list.

What are the 5, no, 10 things you do for others that you are reluctant to also do for yourself, if you even do them at all?

MAKE TOP TEN LIST HERE
1 – 10
Now, go back and number that list in order of the item where you give the most to others and the least to yourself – in descending order. Let’s call it the:

TOP 10 WAYS I IGNORE MY OWN NEEDS LIST
1 – 10
So as not to sabotage your resolution success, circle the first three items on the list.

THE FIRST THREE ITEMS ON MY TOP 10 LIST ARE:

1.

2.

3.

Copy and print these first three items and paste them on:

  • Your calendar
  • Your car visor
  • Your bathroom mirror
  • Wherever you are likely to see the list every day

Now, promise that you will resolve in 2017 to do, or, at least attempt to do these three things better for and toward yourself.  The world will manage. Trust me, it will.

Happy New Year!

 

* Christopher Germer, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, specializing in mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapy. He is a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice. Dr. Germer lectures and conducts workshops internationally on the art and science of mindful self-compassion.


Mary L. Collins is the Marketing Director at Lamoille Home Health & Hospice. A 2014 Home Care Elite Top Agency, LHH&H is one of eleven VNAs of Vermont home health and hospice agencies serving Vermont. She also serves as Marketing Director at The Manor, a 4 star nursing home and short term rehabilitation facility in Morrisville, VT, and she chairs the Lamoille Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.