Friday, June 22, 2018
Health

Sensible goals, mindfulness key to positive change, personal growth

As many of my readers know, I'm not much for New Year's resolutions. I am, however, very much for goals and striving for change and personal growth.

To me, a resolution is more of an emotional statement based on a strong desire to change something. "I'm going to lose those 40 pounds this year!" "I'm going to fit into this size 6 dress by my daughter's wedding." "I'm going to run my first marathon this year!" Some people stop right there. They express their emotional desire in the form of a resolution and expect that that expression alone is enough to make the change happen. Others go one step further by adopting some form of rigid or extreme "treatment" that is supposed to guarantee success. It might be the latest fad diet from a recently released diet book or an extreme exercise class newly discovered and recommended by a friend who has made a similar resolution.

In reality, most people don't spend the time to wisely design and implement a plan that not only will lead to reaching the year's goal but also will lead to permanent, life-altering, healthy changes — a plan like the one followed by the person who quietly goes about daily life, holiday season or not, eating nutritious meals, exercising and making other healthy choices. This person didn't announce the start of healthy changes, but rather just started making them. Friends and family are used to this person's regular lifestyle of healthy behaviors and have come to expect it.

If you have a history of setting New Year's resolutions only to let them go by the wayside year after year, pay particular attention to this person and the secrets to success.

With mindfulness, you, too, can become this type of person. It's really not that difficult. These tips will help get you there in 2016:

Think of your resolution as a collective one: A resolution isn't just about making a statement of intent. You must think about all the issues that have to be considered and attended to in order to accomplish your goal. Simply saying that you're going to lose weight in 2016 isn't enough. Weight loss involves many things, from learning to eat and shop right to building endurance with exercise, thinking positively and setting priorities.

Use your smartphone and other technology to help you: Your smartphone can increase your awareness of what you need to be doing at any given moment. You can put reminders and calendar events on your phone (when you're going to exercise, when you're going to shop for food) so that you are alerted to and reminded of the things you want to value and prioritize in life so that they can become habits.

Make a weekly appointment with yourself: Pretend that you have a standing weekly appointment with a therapist or trainer. The only difference will be that the session is with you. Allow a half-hour to an hour to address any problems that might be derailing your good intentions. Perhaps you allowed a friend to talk you out of your walk and in to shopping instead. Catching red flags early will nip self-defeating tendencies in the bud.

Take a monthly inventory: During your weekly appointment, once per month review the overall progress you've made toward your ultimate goal and revise as necessary.

Make proper use of the past: Sometimes the past should stay in the past, such as when you're only making yourself feel guilty. That said, you can learn a lot from previous behavior. Put that information to good use for the future.

Set your sights realistically: A resolution and the smaller goals that comprise it must be doable. Beware of goals that are impossible to achieve.

Look around: Study people who are doing a good job of staying focused on their health goals and are realistic about those goals. Pick their brains and use their good ideas.

So call them New Year's resolutions if you'd like, but remember this: Sensible goal setting and mindfulness are key to getting what you really want out of life, and they go well beyond simply having an intention or making a statement.

May you have a healthy and happy new year.

Dr. Lavinia Rodriguez is a Tampa psychologist, an expert in weight management and an author. Contact her at [email protected]

Comments
ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ST. PETERSBURGShyly, 8-year-old Annabelle Brassfield climbed atop a stool in front of a blank easel, grabbed a brush she named Scarlet and prepared to paint her scars. After three open heart surgeries for a severe congenital heart defect, she’s left ...
Published: 06/22/18
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Published: 06/20/18
Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

TAMPA — Runners gathered for the Gonzmart’s Father’s Day Walk and Jog where they raise money to help aid in Moffitt Cancer Center’s fight against prostate cancer. This year the event raised $110,000, but Moffitt had another surprise in store.Andrea G...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Published: 06/19/18
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, don’t forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. That’s because both products work to protect your body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Published: 06/09/18
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG — Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Published: 06/08/18