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Summer - Make a Mid-Year Resolution

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Celebrate Summer with a Mid Years Resolution, Says Saint Louis University Psychiatrist

ST. LOUIS --( Looking for a way to get your summer off to a sizzling start? Make a Mid Years resolution, suggests Joan Lang, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and a SLUCare psychiatrist.

We tend to think of the new year as a time for making resolutions, Dr. Lang says. For some of us, though, the beginning of the summer is a time of change.

School lets out. The swimming pool opens for the season. Moving vans hit the roads. We plan for vacations, daytrips and other treats to spark up our daily routine.

The changes brought on by a new, more relaxed season can cause us to look within to make sure we are accomplishing what we want, Dr. Lang says.

Have you always wanted to go to Paris but never gotten beyond Paris, Ill.? Does the nudge of swimsuit season trigger a distant memory that once upon a time you intended to work out regularly? Is that overgrown vegetable bed in the backyard scruffy evidence that plans for homegrown tomatoes have gone to seed?

Seize the moment, Dr. Lang says. Dont have intentions, have plans. Say, I am going to do this now, spell out how youre going to accomplish your goal and start arranging it.

Dr. Lang cautions against making more than a resolution or two. Vowing to eat healthier, exercise daily, learn to sail, get a new job and find a bigger house all at the same time is setting yourself up for failure.

After item five on your to-do list, youre really saying thats something you dont want to forget about but dont really plan to do, Dr. Lang says. You shouldnt beat yourself up about not getting to it because there was never a chance you would.

That said, Dr. Lang offers these strategies to make a resolution stick.

· Identify one goal. You cant turn all of your intentions into plans, Dr. Lang says. You say this is the thing Im going to make happen. You have to figure out what will work for you based on what you know about your circumstances rather than thinking someday youll get around to it. You have to commit.

· Personalize a very specific concrete plan of action. You probably wont stick with an exercise ritual that involves going to the gym if you feel you are neglecting your pets by spending long work hours away from home. Instead, set up an exercise space in your home or take your dog on a daily 30-minute walk. Find solutions, not excuses.

· Look at what you want from a fresh perspective. Maybe you crave a summer vacation but only have one day you can take off from your new job. Take Friday afternoon off (perhaps for a round of golf or a manicure) and Monday morning off (sleep in, read a book, have brunch with a friend). Schedule other fun activities on Saturday and Sunday. We shouldnt think of vacation as always taking a trip, Dr. Lang says. If you use your vacation days that way, it may offer more bang for the buck. Youve given yourself the feeling of a four-day weekend without taking the extra time.

Keeping a Mid Years resolution is about planning. You tell yourself that you are going to reach your goal and heres how. Start mapping it out in a way that will work for you, Dr. Lang says.

© Health News 2004 All Rights Reserved.


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