Take on 2018 with clear goals and change bad habits


With the potential of new beginnings and opportunities, the New Year should fill us with excitement and hope to start afresh.

This according to Tony de Gouveia, a clinical psychologist at Akeso Clinic, who offered our readers tips on keeping New Year’s resolutions.

Because of some of our failures and habits, De Gouveia said sooner rather than later our New Year’s resolutions could fall by the wayside, leaving us uncertain, insecure and even gloomy about the road ahead. “The cause of our inability to stick to well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions can be attributed to a lack of understanding as to how people change, but particularly the role of habits,” he said.

“Ninety per cent of our normal behaviour is based on our habits. We are creatures of habit, both good and successful ones, but also bad and unsuccessful ones.”

However, we can change our bad habits, but the problem is that most people give up before then.

“The best way to face changes and challenges that may come our way in 2018, is to confront them head-on.

“Avoidance just won’t do, so we need to position ourselves in terms of the direction which we wish to take over the next 12 months, and set ‘SMART’ goals around this direction.”

These are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-frame specific.

He explained that a goal is a real-time pursuit of a worthy objective until it is achieved. Goals create the necessary direction and purpose, focus our attention and thereby increase our motivation. It is like a magnet that pulls us towards the target(s) and we need to remember that a goal without a number is just a slogan.

Our goals must be focused on a specific area, for example, weight or smoking, and essentially should be measurable (kilograms, centimetres), with targets specified, namely the ideal weight.

“There are no unrealistic, unachievable goals – only unrealistic time-frames. To expect to lose 5 kg in 5 days will never work. The R does not only stand for ‘realistic’ but also for the ‘record’. When we write our goals down on paper, they are far more motivational than when we just say them silently to ourselves. Also, unless a time-frame is specified, there is no sense of urgency and the goal invariably is not realised or simply gets postponed, often indefinitely.”

Details: Akeso Clinic 011 447 0268.

Filler: Share your 2018 New Year’s resolution by tweeting us on @NE_Tribune

Thabo Jobo

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