Have a Mentally Healthy New Year!
By: Beth McHugh 2007
Another year has come, bringing new hope and endless possibilities. What will you achieve this year? New Year is the typical time of that solemn process of Making Resolutions. We decide to stop smoking, or lose weight, or do that course, or relate better to our teenage children.
These are all great ideas, but we often don’t keep them. February often finds us lighting up again, munching into cookies, not enrolled in that course, and arguing pointlessly with our children.
So why do resolutions so often fail? Many times it is because we are not really mentally ready for change. Although the New Year seems like a good time to change your life, it is a man-made festival and there is nothing magical or different about it. New Year’s Day is not imbued with divine powers that will descend upon you and make you into the person you want to be.
In fact, after enduring the rigors of Christmas shopping and family get-togethers, we are probably at our physical and spiritual lowest. And this is the time we opt to make radical changes in our lives! No wonder we often fail to achieve our goals.
In therapy, when a person is ready to change, they change. Again, the change is not drastic, it is a process. No amount of therapy can change a person who is not ready to do so. The best therapist cannot work with a mind that isn’t ready. Consequently, we cannot make real change in our own lives until we are ready. So don’t give yourself a hard time if you find your New Year resolutions have already begun to unravel.
In 2007, if you find yourself in a place you would rather not be in, whether you are in an unhealthy state of mind or inhabiting an unhealthy body, just go with it for the moment. Look at how you came to be where you are today. Understanding what is driving you to stay in an unhealthy relationship, move around in an unhealthy body, have toxic friends, and a soul-destroying job, is more important that trying to change other people, going on the latest diet, or putting up with being a doormat.
Understanding your situation is the key to change. This year, we will explore the importance of understanding your self and why we do the things we do.