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As the calendar turns over and we start a fresh January, many of us look to the new year with hope and motivation, ready to start as we mean to go on.  Resolutions are made and promises are promised, with high hopes for what can be achieved in the 12 months to come.  As a therapeutic counsellor I work in the business of change, and for me there is nothing more thrilling than watching a client break free of the bonds of the past and continue into the rest of their life with renewed energy.

I would like to share with you today some of the 'hints and tips' that clients have reported to be helpful, in the hope that you too may benefit from them when you go about tackling the changes you want to make in your life.

1.  Keep going

Walter Elliot, the Scottish politician stated that "perseverance is not one long race, but many shorts races run one after another".  It may be hard to keep up new habits at times, and you may fall short of where you would like yourself to be on a particular day.  Don't worry about it!  Pick yourself up and carry on; the willingness to keep going after you have slipped up can often be what makes the ultimate difference between succeeding in your goal or not achieving it.

2.  Share your aims

Sharing what your ultimate goal is with someone else can mean access to a steady source of support and encouragement.  A word of caution here though - you may wish to choose your wisest friend to confide in and not necessarily your closest friend or relative.  A supportive and wise person will appreciate how difficult change can be at times, and may turn out to be a more reliable arm to steady yourself on when times are tough.  They may be more able to be frank when the situation requires it, and an honest opinion is invaluable when given at the right moment.  You can also ask this person to hold you to account over the decisions you make in pursuing your goal - this is the idea of public 'weigh ins' at slimming groups; you may feel more motivated to stick to your resolution if you know you may have to justify your actions to someone else!

3.  More carrot than stick

When leading a donkey, the image goes, it can be motivated by dangling a carrot in front of its nose or by hitting its rear end with a stick.  The person-centred approach to counselling which I practise at Ashwood Therapy is based on the idea that given the right therapeutic conditions a person will naturally grow in a positive direction of their own choosing, overcoming problems along the way.  There is a place for challenge, yet it must be done in such a way that it does not leave the client feeling deflated or despondent.  In my experience, clients who learn to reward themselves when they achieve rather than beat themselves up when they don't, experience success more quickly and more often.  Don't be too hard on yourself - the fact that you are reading this blog is a positive step in the right direction towards learning to change the things you want to!

If you would like some professional support to talk through what this New Year holds for you, I would invite you to get in touch so that we can discuss a way forward.  After all, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, and I've had the privilege of walking beside many men and women as they work towards their goals, one step at a time :-)

Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com

New Year = New You!

New Year = New You! | Ashwood Therapy Wellbeing Blog