Brain Break: Resolve to make yourself better with the help of a counselor | MyWindsorNow.com

Brain Break: Resolve to make yourself better with the help of a counselor

Sandy
Squicquero
For Windsor Now

Squicquero

As we celebrate the beginning of the New Year, we ring out the old year and ring in the new.

To many Americans, the ball drop at Times Square in New York City signals the start of the New Year in this country. The ball was first dropped in 1908, and New Year's Eve would not be the same without it. January was established as the first month of the year by the Roman calendar and was named after the god Janus (a Latin word for door). Janus has two faces which allowed him to look both backwards into the old year and forward into the new one at the same time. He was the "spirit of the opening."

New year's resolutions are easy to make but harder to keep. Resolutions have changed throughout the years. It seems that the older, or should I say the wiser we get, resolutions tend to be tied to good health: "I really am going to be more physically active this year aren't I? I promise I will be more organized and less unorganized and messy."

Many New Year's resolutions have to do with bettering ourselves, becoming kinder, more tolerant or perhaps learning to curb our tempers. People vow to become more generous, less selfish and more thoughtful of others. The three most popular resolutions for New Years are spending more time with family, losing weight and quitting smoking. In short, the beginning of a new year is a time to reflect on ourselves and our recent past and to try in some way to improve ourselves in the coming year.

Changing or modifying bad habits and improving our areas of shortcoming is not easy. Ingrained human behaviors are hard to change. Take for example quitting smoking, overeating, gambling and other forms of addictive behaviors. We may want to change behavior on some level, but changing requires effort and commitment that sometimes is difficult for us. It is in these areas that counselors and other behavior professionals can really help people improve their lives.

Often individuals are close to solving serious personal issues and problems but just can't quite get the job done, not unlike a New Year's resolution that fails. Then one day that person meets someone such as a counselor, mentor, or it maybe a friend who encourages them in their life and helps them achieve their goals and promotes change.

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It is important, when we turn a new page and look towards a new beginning, that we start with a new plan and goal in mind. If your goal is to run a marathon in 2018 and you are not a runner, start with walking and then slowly increase your time as your endurance allows. Losing weight is not easy, and those wanting to lose weight need to be conditioned to treat the cause rather than the symptom. If you want to quit smoking, research the cessation programs that are available and choose the one that is right for you.

Once change begins it is often self-reinforcing, and a new chapter in a person's life is off and running. Spending more time with family can be difficult, depending on your circumstance. When you are spending time with your family make it count. Sometimes we have to rely on the quality of time rather than the quantity.

Change may be very difficult but worthwhile. As you make your resolution include others in your plans if possible and realize that improvement is a journey. Give yourself effort for what you have accomplished in 2017, and look towards 2018 with hope.

— Sandi Squicquero is a licensed professional counselor who works out of the Medical Hypnosis and Counseling Center at 1180 Main St., Suite 5B in Windsor. She has more than 30 years experience as a counselor and is board certified in medical hypnosis.