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Bettering Yourself in 2017: Accept. Choose. Take Action.

By: VCHS Mental Health Therapist Macaela Haas, PLMHP

Each new year brings a chance for you to change the direction of your life by developing new behaviors and habits. Whether it’s making a budget, eating more healthfully, losing weight, spending more time with family and friends, or checking off some of your bucket list items, this time of year brings encouragement, motivation, and excitement to achieve such goals. However, from diet trends overwhelming our social media feeds to style and beauty tips taking top spots on talk shows and magazines, it is easy to be distracted from what is truly important to you! You may begin to lose sight what you want to achieve. The desire to change – to create better habits – may sound overwhelming, and surely the thought of “Where should I start?” may arise. However, changing your approach and way of thinking can help you reach your full potential.

Take Action.

Those four words can foster the way you create change. The purpose of this approach is to help you develop flexibility in enhancing your life (Strosahl, K. D., & Robinson, P.J., 2008). When seeking to develop a new habit or change your lifestyle, incorporating flexibility allows you to find direction and meaning in achieving your goals. Without flexibility, it’s easy to lose sight of, and stick to, achieving your goals. Acceptance can be a hard concept for some to swallow, especially when hardships and uncertainties hinder the path. You must work through this process. Replace negative thinking through 1) accepting the obstacle, 2) choosing the way, and 3) taking action. When implementing this technique, you are no longer hostage of distasteful realism but are able to defeat it. Albert Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

The “Accept, Choose, and Take Action” motto can assist with building a meaningful and purposeful life. At some point in life, everyone faces hardships, disappointments, and unpredictability, but accepting the walls of disappointment, choosing a new path, and taking action leads to reaching your  full potential. Your goals may not be trendy or what others think they ought to be, but individuality allows you to defeat any obstacle, balance unstable ground, and conquer any interference in your way. When making and reviewing your goals – whether that’s weight loss, financial standing, self-care, or something else – remember these four words: accept, choose, and take ACTION!

Reference: Strosahl, K. D., & Robinson, P.J. (2008). The mindfulness & acceptance workbook for depression: Using        acceptance & commitment therapy to move through depression &create a life worth living. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, INC