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Achieving balance and mental wellness in the new year

The new year has begun, and resolutions are in full swing. As always, many start the year with the best of intentions, but bannerdon’t always stick to the plan. Some people allow past failures to hold them back from achieving what they set out to do.

Monarch’s Medical Director Dr. Robert McHale, M.D., M.S., discussed goals and mental balance, and how to make resolutions for 2014 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 to look at last year as a learning opportunity,” McHale said.

McHale stressed the importance of starting the new year by reflecting on the past, but being careful not to see failure as a bad thing. He noted past failures are ways to learn something about ourselves, which can make the coming year enjoyable and help to shape new, effective resolutions.  This thought process helps give insight into the goals people want to make, and it helps them to set themselves up for success.

Another important part of making an attainable resolution is a good understanding of personal needs; people should know makes them happy, or how to feel a sense of achievement.

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

For example, if someone has a resolution to stop smoking, but they are only doing it for a spouse, not because they actually want to quit, they’re unlikely to stick to their plan. Instead, McHale suggests making resolutions about goals you want to accomplish, because there has to be a personal investment.

Once resolutions have been identified and formed through positive reflection on the past year, McHale says it’s important to implement a plan to achieve those goals. He goes by the 50 percent rule.

For example, if someone wants to lose 50 pounds, McHale explained to break the goal in half and revaluate in six months. By working hard on losing 25 pounds within that time, you can reevaluate your progress and plan at the six month mark. He noted that getting rid of the idea of yearlong resolutions helps lower expectations, and allows people to see progress on a shorter time frame. “The best thing that leads to future success is past success,” McHale said.

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