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Monarch medical director discusses achieving New Year’s resolutions, mental wellness

Albert Einstein once described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So why do we tend to make the same New Year’s r mchale3resolutions over and over without making significant changes needed to achieve them? 

Dr. Robert McHale, M.D., M.S. is Monarch’s medical director. He suggests setting goals for 2016 that are healthy, well-rounded, and, most importantly, attainable. 

“The springboard for balance is going into the new year with the idea that I’ve learned something from this past year and it has changed me. I’m going to use the good and bad as a learning opportunity,” McHale says.

Each New Year offers us a clean slate, and some time to reflect on the past — things that went well, and areas in which we’d like to improve.

McHale says past failures are ways to learn about ourselves, which can aid us in shaping new, effective resolutions. A positive mindset gives us insight into the goals we want to make, and helps set ourselves up for success.

Another important part of making an attainable resolution is a good understanding of personal needs. Think about what makes you happy, and what gives you a sense of achievement, McHale says.

“Oftentimes, New Year’s resolutions tend to be for others, but they should be personal goals instead,”shares McHale. “You’re setting yourself up for failure if your resolution is to make someone else content or happy.”

If you make a resolution to stop smoking but you’re only doing it for a spouse, it’s unlikely you’ll be successful, McHale explains. Rather, choose a resolution of which you can take ownership.

Once you’ve identified that resolution, he explains, next comes the step of implementing a plan to achieve your goals. He suggests the 50-percent rule. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, give yourself six months to lose 25 pounds, then evaluate your progress after that time period. 

By breaking down a goal, McHale says, you make it more realistic, and more attainable, increasing the odds for your success.

Established in 1958, Monarch is a not-for-profit organization that provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges. The agency is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and certified by The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as a Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency (CABHA). Monarch operates The Arc of Stanly County, which is a chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch provides support, please call (866) 272-7826.

Pictured: Dr. Robert McHale

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