Saturday, January 7, 2012

5 Ways To Set Yourself Free

Day 7 of Your Year to Wellness

Those who reach a goal all believe that they deserve it

You’ve made it to day 7 and even though we have the rest of the year to go, you have just jumped over a major hurdle. You are either ready to quit or determined to move forward, but either way, you are thinking about rewarding yourself with a treat for having come this far. I know the feeling and the urge, but having popcorn as a reward for not having it would be like taking a drink to celebrate my week of sobriety. You can now see how difficult it is to remain committed to the goal of becoming well. I believe however, that the difficulty is not with staying committed to the goal, but with freeing yourself from the pain of past failures. We must set ourselves free, from bad food, bad relationships, bad memories, and poor choices.

The idea of self-efficacy, the belief in your ability to solve your own problems is a psychological concept that goes a step beyond self-esteem in that it is not just about confidence in who you are, but speaks to your belief in your ability to do something about who and how you are. There are recent arguments which point to the fact that those who have been able to lose weight, move forward from a painful past, or transform themselves, are people with an extremely high degree of self-efficacy; they are super-human.

In sociology we say that anything that is learned can be unlearned. Anyone can replace old ideas of inability with new ones if you are willing, and have the tools and inspiration to do so.

We are talking about freedom; something I happen to know a little about. When I wrote The Ties That Bind; A Memoir of Race Memory and Redemption, I studied the abolitionist movement in dept. I read hundreds of first-hand accounts of fugitives from slavery and found that these stories all had something in common; the person who yearned for freedom believed that they deserved it.

You must believe that you deserve to be well and you must seek wellness as one who is seeking freedom.

·         Look again at your own life and what you’ve done for yourself and others. See how instrumental you’ve been in their well-being and decide that you must have that too. If your pet and car get check-ups regularly, shouldn’t you. Tell yourself that you deserve to be well.

·         Make a list of how you’d like to be at the end of the year and be specific including as many areas of life as possible.

·         Reward yourself for reaching seven days with a wellness gift, a facial or skin care product, a massage, a pedometer, or exfoliating cream.

·         Make an observation of previous patterns in your life; relationship choices, friendships, purchases, disagreements at work and disappointments in general. What patterns emerge? You may not cause the problem but you can control how you react and what we can control, we can change.

·         Who do you give your power to? This is a big question and I know that for some, I’m stepping in deep water. It you are extremely religious (note: I did not write “spiritual”) you have probably already answered this; “God is in control of my life.” Yes, we know, but God wants you to be responsible for the life you have been given. This question is about the patterns we often find ourselves in with relating to others and giving the power to choose what we eat, what we wear and everything else about our day to day existence. Think about this throughout the year and also ask whose power are you taking?

This is getting deep but so is wellness(---get it well-ness.)

 I’ve worked with people who become frustrated by the fact that once they start to change, they can’t go back to their old self; and that is the point. Old things are passed away and behold, we become new.

Congratulations on making it to the beautiful point in your wellness.

Keep on keeping on.

Bertice Berry, PhD

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