New Year … New You?!

Welcome to the January edition of Forrest Rambles.  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that my tips in last month’s ramble helped to keep ‘festive stress’ to a minimum.

I’m back to work feeling refreshed and ready for the challenges and exciting times which lay ahead – both personally and for Forrest Talking Therapies.

Today is the first of January, the month which gets its name from the Roman god Janus, who is usually depicted with two heads – one looking back to the past and the other facing forwards to the future and whatever it may bring.

When looking back on 2017 try to focus on the positive, happy memories. What were the key things you enjoyed? What did you achieve – no matter how big or small?  When things haven’t gone so well, notice how you coped with challenges and consider what you can learn from these experiences.

Looking forwards to 2018, it can be tempting to try to make lots of changes. New Year Resolutions are a tradition dating back as far as the Babylonians. But, how many of us actually manage to keep our New Year resolutions?  A study by the University of Bristol found that despite good intentions, 88% of the people they surveyed failed to keep their resolutions.  

Making changes can be difficult, so it’s important that we try to apply what’s called SMART Goal setting to new projects. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (or Resourced) and Time Limited. So, don’t just say, ‘I want to get fit in 2018’.  Say –

Specific: I will go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after work.

Measurable: I will keep a track of my fitness levels.

Achievable: Yes – this feels do-able, I don’t have any other commitments after work and I don’t have any health problems which may interfere.  

Realistic and Resourced: I will join a gym and make sure I have appropriate clothes to wear.

Time Limited: I will work out for at least 30 minutes each time I go.

There may be things you’d like to change in 2018, such as quitting smoking, using social media less, taking up a new hobby or volunteering for a local organisation. But do also try to remember that you are not perfect, and nor should you strive to be. The ‘New Year – New You’ culture can feel like quite a pressure. Instead, take a deep breath and appreciate all that you are – warts and all, because, everyone is ‘perfectly imperfect’.