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Family Counseling Service offers advice for keeping resolutions

The Tuscaloosa News - 1/3/2020

Jan. 3--As one year ends and another begins, many people are making decisions and new commitments for a better self in the new year.

The Family Counseling Service of West Alabama warns that, often, these steps toward self-improvement slow down, allowing for the reversion to old habits and feelings of failure.

To combat this, counselors at the Tuscaloosa-based counseling facility have created a few steps to strengthen resolve and increase the odds of finding success.

--Be realistic: Begin with goals that actually can be achieved. These goals should reflect a realistic starting point and something that reasonably can be accomplished. For example, instead of starting with a goal of losing 20 pounds, a more realistic goal might be weighing less one year from today.

--Talk about it: Talking openly about goals reinforces their seriousness while keeping it in the forefront of your mind. Talking to others also creates some accountability for these intentions and, if the idea of any accountability seems frightening, that raises questions about the overall seriousness of the goal.

--Plan ahead: Be aware of personal tendencies and the things that are most likely to cause failure and make a plan for those distractions and interruptions. While all pitfalls cannot be avoided, they do not have to to completely stop progress. Plan how to deal with these barriers so that when they do arise, they can be dealt with reasonably and soon.

--Track progress: Whether it's a simple check mark on a calendar, a happy face on days of success or a daily journal, tracking progress in some visible, measurable way is critical to affirming progress. There will be times when it feels as if nothing meaningful has been accomplished, but looking back on the tracks of success can serve as a powerful motivating effect.

The counselors acknowledge that change is often difficult, but it can be achieved with diligence, focus and a belief in self.

The Family Counseling Service of West Alabama also is available to assist in sticking to New Year's goals or any other counseling need throughout the year.

The agency is at the corner of Paul W. Bryant Drive and Queen City Avenue. For more information, go to www.counselingservice.org.

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