Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Fresh Start at New Year's-Use the Opportunity

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Dec 30, 2012 9:49 PM

New Year's Day is an opportunity to drop some bad habits, forgive some old grudges, and work on some improvements in personality and relationships.

Pick a habit to change. Think about when you did a little better with it, like ate better or smoked less, and what was going right. Get a clue, then, on how you could set yourself up for more success. For example, you ate less when busy working, so be busy instead of sitting around overeating due to boredom more this year.

Remember the list of things which you're still mad about that you rehashed for the nth time with your spouse or significant other? Know that you're still together despite all that stuff. Assess if there were more good things than bad, whether you can forgive the slights which weren't purposefully abusive or destructive in an evil way. Know that repair and corrections happen, and that forgiveness goes with love and happiness.

Look at the worst bloopers you made this year and figure out what you could have said or done instead.You blamed a service provider for charging too much, insulted him and he quit. Not a good policy for the future. Practice keeping your mouth shut and acting more rationally when irritated about sticker shock. You screamed at your wife. You'll talk gently next time.

Figure out what disagreements or arguments with family or friends you could have avoided and how. What did you say that touched a nerve? Was it your tone of voice ? Bad timing? Plan to be less critical, more complimentary, and diplomatic next time.

You'll think of more. The important thing is to use the holiday as an excuse to improve.

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