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A new resolution, a new life!

Don’t shy away thinking you are too old or too young to make the desired changes in your life about mental health and well-being

03rd January 2017, 12:00 Hrs

Have you had the feeling this New Year that life is passing you by and you might have not done all the things you once hoped to do? Well you are not alone. There are many who feel this syndrome every year and mentally make a list for themselves and pile it all up and try hard to stick to their resolutions.

A few weeks later they are back to square one where they started feeling terribly hopeless about themselves and believe that resolutions made for the New Year are meant to be broken. If you are smiling reading this then I am sure you too belong to that cohort.

Don’t feel disheartened. Because life is as much of uncertainty as it is about certainties.

Making desired changes in one’s life is about mental health and well-being. Every human faces this predicament, especially when they are burdened with the mundane of life. This feeling is good and should be harnessed to develop oneself. Don’t shy away thinking you are too old or too young.

Mental well-being is often considered about medication and other options, but very rarely one would consider certain lifestyle changes that are in order. Research has shown that simple lifestyle changes like exercise and nutrition go a long way to increase the quality of life one leads. An overall enhancement to one’s self esteem and efficacy.

However, the thought of change is overwhelming. One of the greatest challenges we face when it comes to sticking with our resolution is the fear of change. Change from the normal, ordinary, however dysfunctional it may be causes in us a sense of unease, especially because we don’t know how change would affect us. Those people struggling to give up drinking, in treatment often state that even though they know that drinking is bad for them they are afraid of the way not drinking would affect their socialization ability. Would their friends continue to be friend them? Or for example when deciding to eat correctly you begin to realize the immense peer pressure associated in keeping to your diet.

Behavioral change is never a single event but interrelated and tied to other behaviors. By becoming aware one needs to incorporate all behaviors that would get affected their lifestyle altercations.

One good way to start a lifestyle change is putting it down on paper. You have to be able to unclutter your mind about the changes you want to make by writing them down. Do not make too many promises at one go. Start with one or two and work through them rather than having twenty and not doing much about it. Sometimes this lifestyle change is confused with a-to-do list.

Wanting to do list can be a one-time event like sailing or sky diving, whereas a lifestyle change means a desired behavior change for the rest of your life.

I have a journal, where once every year I write down some of the things I want to do in life. The trick I learnt is that I give myself a time frame and I don’t stress about it too much. It’s there at the back of my mind and most often than not I find myself completing them. Every year when I go back to my writing, I revise my earlier list and if I find that I still want to do some of the things I have not been able to do then I write them again and so on. It’s exciting when what has been a fantasy becomes a reality. Written words give you a license to indulge. Sometimes it can be as silly as walking in the rain or as serious as travelling on your own to a strange place.

A-to-do list makes things happen. It gives you focus. The first time might feel strange and silly but once you enjoy the fruits of your labour the exercise is no longer seen as futile but makes life interesting and the nagging feeling that overwhelms you will slowly become the challenge that you want from life.

Lifestyle change on the other hand is more complex. These are behaviours that need a paradigm shift. So when you decide that you are going to exercise regularly you should realise what it entails. Here writing helps as well. It gives one a sense of reality of what to expect. Exercise or diet change means giving up on many of the things you took for granted.

First of all, make time for a new routine in your otherwise busy schedule. For example, an early morning routine for exercise seems ideal because once you do it, it is out of the way. Waking an hour early would mean fewer late nights, determination and persistence.

Being aware of what you demand out of yourself is as important as the demand itself. A few hiccups are normal but the general rule is that for a behaviour to set in it requires a minimum of 15 days routine. So if you are one of those who feel like you don’t have the determination, than seek out a buddy. Someone who is already doing what you want to do. And enjoy your resolution!

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