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Emerton SeanneTherapist's Corner...
Welcoming January 

    January has a bad reputation. It is rated as the most depressing month. In our neck of the woods, it is cold and dark when we rise in the morning and dark when we get home from work. The holidays are over and we often need to work at finding something to look forward to. Sometimes we regret eating too many sweets over the holidays, further compounding our negative mindset. Sometimes we set lofty goals that quickly become unreachable, sabotaging ourselves right out of the gate. We may tell ourselves “I messed up again!”; “There’s no hope”; “I hate this time of year”. Then guess what? We have created a self perpetuating depressive cycle.
     While we can’t control the weather or any number of other things that concern us, we can control our mindset. We have a choice on where our focus goes and where we put our attention. Furthermore, we have a choice on what we tell ourselves about the object of our focus. We can now scientifically prove that the quality of our thoughts has a direct impact on our physiology. We truly go towards what we focus on.
     What do you want to focus on? What are your top 3 priorities as you look forward to 2017? You may choose to anchor your intentions by taking a moment to write them down. What would you like to name your year? This is a favorite ritual of mine that was introduced to me by a dear friend years ago. Last year I named 2016 “the year of effortless release”. (My father died a year ago and I struggled with grief. It helped to remind myself daily what I had named the year. While I have absorbed wonderful memories and the essence of my dad, the year name helped me release bits of grief gently and with self compassion.)
     The month of January is named for the ancient Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings, transitions, passages and endings. I love how he is usually depicted… as having two faces, one looking to the future and one to the past.
     While we need that rear view mirror perspective to stay mindful of lessons learned and to release what no longer serves, we need to spend more time looking out the front windshield, staying mindfully present with our navigation system effectively engaged. January can be an optimal time to reset ourselves. Yes, we want to enjoy the journey but do we know what direction we want to go towards? What is your destination?
     Let’s use this hibernation time to get our mindset right. We can effectively enjoy the journey and head towards our destination by doing simple things such as focusing on appreciation and gratitude. We can clean up our self talk by being positive and forgiving with ourselves. We can choose our attitude. Who knows? January may even become a welcomed month! May yours be the start of a great year, rich in all that satisfies your soul. We at Family Resources wish you and yours the very best in this new year.

Seanne Emerton, Founder/Therapist

JMcCasslin

Therapist's Corner...
Toss Out Guilt From New Year's Resolutions

      Ah....New Year's Day. Tradition calls for resolutions (at least in the Western Hemisphere, as well as a few in the Eastern). A time to "start over" and to set goals to make ourselves a better person. A time to make a firm decision to do or to not do something. A time to solve our problems and differences with others. 
     Then comes February 1st, and along with it, the guilt of having already broken your resolution. 
     "So what's the point?" you ask. "Should I make a resolution, and try, then have to deal with the guilt? Or should I just not care?"
     Here's my advice: be flexible.
     We know that people who set clearly-defined and reasonable goals have a better chance at achieving them than people who don't define their goals. On top of that, people who outline clear steps to their overall goal are more likely to achieve it, too.
     So, let me give you an example. "I will maintain a cleaner home this year so I have less stress and can do more with my kids." Yes, that's my goal. What does it mean? What am I comparing it to? What's "clean" to me may not be "clean" to others. Do I mean OCD spotless or, reality check, clean with a few kids' toys around?
     Once I decide how to define my goal, I will need to set smaller goals. For example, maybe I'll focus on certain areas of the house on certain days. Maybe I'll make a chore chart so my kids can learn responsibility while relieving some of my cleaning stress. It may even come down to daily goals, like "load the dishwasher and start it" every night before bed (it's so easy to just leave dishes in the sink and watch a movie instead!). I'm still unpacking from our move a year ago, so one goal may be to go through a tote per week. (For those of you who remember, I was going to donate, sell, or trash 2,016 items last year...pretty certain I didn't hit that number, although I did get rid of hundreds).
     So...let's make this a little more personal for you. Below you'll find a little goal-defining outline. Fill it in with one goal - maybe you've already decided on your New Year's resolution, since we're about a week into January. You can use this outline on as many goals as you want.
     Just remember one thing this year. You will NOT fail at your goal, unless you completely give up. Redefine it as often as you need. If you "fall off the wagon," get back up, dust yourself off, and try again. Find friends/co-workers to help you.

Define 2017 Resolution: ____________________________________________________________

     "Mini" goals to achieve resolution (use as many as you need):
      1.

      2.

      3.

      4.

      5. 

     Person(s) who can help with resolution and HOW each will help (motivation, check ups, calls, accountability, do things with you - again, as many as you need. Plus, you may want to mention it to these people so they know what to do):

      1. 

      2. 

      3. 

"If I 'fall off the wagon' I will not give up. Instead I will..." _________________________________

Enjoy 2017! Remember, these goals are to help you achieve something better in your life. Make them fun (even eating healthy or exercising can be fun). No guilt! You won't fail; you'll just redefine your goal!

Jessica McCaslin, Therapist

Lenz

From Our EAP...
2017 Resolution: Take Initiative on the Job 

The Power of Initiative
     Your resume and job interviewing skills are what get you in the door, but once you've been hired, there is a powerful way of advancing your career and enhancing your earning power over the life of your career. It is taking initiative.
     If your boss is at all typical, he or she cares much more about your level of initiative than your education, IQ, or experience. Managers love initiative takers because they make their lives easier, but they're rare in most organizations. As such, those who show initiative tend to stand out among their coworkers and be the first in line for pay raises and promotions.
What is Initiative?
     Taking initiative means anticipating and taking action rather than waiting to be told by your boss what to do. It's being proactive both in recognizing and solving problems.
     Initiative takers are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve methods and systems and are willing to think and act creatively in order to reach their goals. They not only propose solutions, they also do the legwork necessary to implementing them.
The Fear Factor
     Many people fail to take initiative out of fear. Initiative taking usually involves taking on things that are outside of your comfort zone. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of criticism all can be paralyzing forces that hinder initiative.
     Breaking through this barrier can be exceedingly difficult, especially at first. But initiative is a learned habit that gets easier with practice. You can jump start your initiative by asking yourself these three questions throughout the day:
  1. Why? Why do we do it this way? Why is this not giving us the results we want?
  2. What? What is average performance among my peers?  What would demonstrate "next level" activity?
  3. How? How can this be done better? How can I prevent this problem from happening again?
Spotting Opportunities 
     Sometimes knowing when to take initiative is as important as knowing how. Here are some great opportunities for taking initiative:
  • When you see a need going unfilled
  • When you have special knowledge or expertise that makes you uniquely qualified for a task
  • When you are sailing in uncharted waters, and those around you are unsure of how to proceed
  • When a problem requires an immediate solution
The Payoff 
     Initiative takers are seen as leaders who managers and peers seek out for opinions and solutions. Initiative takers naturally expand their own influence and value by being willing to take on new things. 
     It's true that some organizations discourage initiative by hiring and promoting over-controlling managers who are afraid of being outdone by their employees, but this needn't kill your own initiative.
     Initiative taking has a way of creating unforeseeable, positive outcomes. Its very process leads to creative problem solving, continued education, and self improvement. Think of it as part of a lifelong process of self development, and you'll become the master of your own destiny - rendering those who try to discourage it powerless over you.
~ Lana Lenz, EAP Administrator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com)
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