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LSB March 2018_Web

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We manage one of SA’s largest social media accounts. P 08 8233 9433 A Level 3, 47 South Tce, Adelaide SA

Are new year’s resolutions really worth the heartache? WELLBEING & RESILIENCE COMMITTEE At the end of each year we often (and should!) reflect on what worked, what didn’t and what we want to focus on for the year ahead. Each year we are all reminded in different forms to make the most of the moments that we have through personal health scares, scares of those around us and that life is what we make of it. The reflection is definitely worthwhile but what next? How do you actually create new year’s resolutions that stick? Let’s start with the most common sorts of new year’s resolutions… let’s admit it, we have all chosen at least one of these before: • Lose weight; • Exercise Regularly; • Quit smoking/reduce alcohol intake; • Eat healthier; • Find more time for me; or • Be financially responsible. You would not be surprised to find that of a recent British BUPA new year resolution survey only one in eight adults successfully kept a resolution in 2015. The common reasons were lack of commitment and loss of motivation. Whilst these results are not Australia-based, we can be fairly confident the same reasons for failure have been our own also. All of the six common new year’s resolutions are part of the composition of your wellbeing and resilience puzzle. The fact that you can recognise that there is a way of being a better you is a very positive mindset. However, setting unrealistic expectations of yourself can be counterproductive. Behavioural change is complex and is not a one step process - it has best been broken down into a five-stage model by researchers named Prochaska and DiClemente. Lets explore the new year’s resolution of “Find more time for me” under this model. PRECONTEMPLATION This is a passive stage of behavioural change. We are often happy with our own habits but we get ideas about needing to change through others – workmates, family and friends. This might be in passing comments “you seem stressed”, “are you okay?”, “you don’t seem yourself these days?”. CONTEMPLATION This is where those passive thoughts become your active thoughts. “Maybe I am stressed”, “I have not quite been myself ”. “How can I change this?” “Do I want to change this?” DETERMINATION This phase is all about the mental preparation to set the drivers for the imminent change. You believe in the need to change and you are committed to making steps to make it happen. ACTION You start. You set yourself goals. Goal number one may be doing five minutes of meditation per day, having a lunch break daily to enjoy Adelaide’s fine weather, setting timeframes around hours of work, creating a series of social events to keep in contact with family and friends. MAINTENANCE This is where action becomes a pattern of continued behaviour. You continue to do your meditation (maybe even increase it!), you continue to have your lunch break daily, you stick to your time frames around hours of work and you continue to create (and attend!) social events with family and friends. This phase is the toughest. You will fail here. The trick to this is to simply recognise it as a relapse not a failure. Maybe you stopped doing your meditation, got too busy to have a lunch break, returned to poor working habits and stopped attending social events. Knowing you will fail here makes it easier to create strategies to reset your actions and recommit to your maintenance. A common reason for failure is that we all want quick responses – it is engrained in us. Never let a few days, weeks or even a month set you back. What can you do in advance? • You can always refine the goal. Some find breaking big goals into micro goals helps them on track. Maybe just start with one element of ‘finding more time for you’ and take the opportunity to stop and recognise your achievement in creating even the smallest of positive habits; • Dedicate time to your goal in your diary; • Enlist the help of a co-worker, friend or family member to keep you on track; and/or • Set yourself a December 2018 reward if you achieve your goal all year long. And remember “none of us were born with any habits at all. They were all learned, and can all, therefore be unlearned.” (Lickerman 2009) March 2018 THE BULLETIN 43