A New Start: Emotional Fitness

For many of us the New Year represents a time of making physical fitness resolutions.

However, emotional fitness is just as important to our well-being (if not more so) and is often forgotten while establishing goals. This year, why not look for areas in your life you’d like to increase your emotional fitness as well? Here are some tools from Psychology Today to make changes a little easier and your New Year more emotionally fit.

1. Starting over is not the same as failure. It is a new beginning. This mindset is helpful because it keeps you from wasting time being too hard on yourself and dwelling on the past instead of a bright future.

2. Remember, moving through life is like climbing stairs. You go up a level and then you level off. Nothing is ever a straight shot. Have some patience with yourself and with any new found direction.

3. A new year may also be a new life if you approach it in the right way. Find the courage to embark on something you never thought possible.

4. Starting over may feel scary, but it’s really a cause for celebration. Think of it as an exciting adventure and many of your anxious feelings will begin to fade. Endings are not necessarily bad things.

5. Remember that your future is not governed by your past. No matter what has happened in your life, you can find a way to make things a little better for yourself, and hopefully for those around you as well.

6. Healthy alternatives to negative lifestyle patterns abound. Take baby steps if you don’t feel comfortable making all your changes on January 1. If you can’t stop a bad habit, start by cutting back. It’s okay to give yourself a little time to moderate or completely stop something that’s hurting you.

7. It’s not all about joining a gym to get fit. What about taking a dance class to get in shape and have fun at the same time? Starting over can mean chasing your dreams. We’re happiest when we’re moving toward a clear and attainable goal.

8. Starting over is about giving yourself a chance at real happiness. You will have to be brave and get good at learning new things, but how bad can that be? At the very worst, you will acquire the new skills that may help you in the future.

Just by changing the way you look at things can make a big difference. Research shows that by changing your thoughts, you change the feelings related to them as well.

The New Year is a great time to start over or make those self-improvements you have always meant to. Remember that once you honestly commit to the changes, you have already begun the process.

Happy 2014!

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