Building A Better You

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Although the time for New Year's resolutions has passed, every day is the perfect time to resolve to become a new YOU; a happier and healthier you, a more relaxed or affluent you, a better parent, or a more skilled communicator.

Although most New Year's resolutions do not make it until the end of January, the problem is not in the individual but the method.  Resolutions that are mere wishes don't have lasting power.  However, resolutions that are based on intention and commitment and involve a plan which includes goals and a support network have a much better chance of success.

One way to embark on a journey of empowerment is to sign up to participate in a personal development program.  One common element to these programs is learning about self-leadership.  Self-leadership is about acknowledging that what happens to you is your responsibility.  This is an empowering position that leads to successful results.  Other common elements are the support network that you develop and the motivation to be accountable that the group provides. 

Self-development is getting up every day and somehow bettering your Self through a system of learning; that is, learning to develop your ability to choose the kind of thinking that leads you to  act in ways that get you closer and closer to the desired results.   In the absence of a learning plan, you repeat what you already know on a daily basis whether it gets you closer to your goal or not.  This type of circular living can lead to feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and depression.   If you find yourself experiencing these feelings, this is a clue that you're not living a self-directed, empowered experience.

Most people tend to blame stress when they encounter challenges in life.  Every human being does experiences stress.  However, negative and positive stressors are important components of healthy living.  Stressors can overwhelm us but they can also inspire, excite, and motivate us.    Regardless of which one of the five major areas of life (physical, emotional, financial, social, or spiritual) we are talking about, healthy living is all about balance.  When positive or negative stressors overtax our capacity for coping, we experience distress and dis/ease.  Distress may exhibit itself physically, through a malfunction of the body; emotionally through feelings of depression or anxiety; financially when we find ourselves with unmanageable debt, or socially when we withdraw or over-commit.

Any change is a stressor and every life transition involves changes that affects us in at least one of the major areas of life.  Life transitions include becoming a teenager, reaching adulthood, getting married, having a child, changing jobs, losing a loved one, separating, divorcing, the children leaving home, reaching mid-life, retiring, becoming chronically ill, becoming a senior, etc.  Life transitions can challenge us to the limit of our capacity to adapt.

Many personal development programs are available to help you become a healthier and happier you.  There are programs for learning the parenting skills needed to understand and adapt to every stage of your child's development; programs to become a more skilled communicator; programs to help you balance your finances regardless of your age, your income, or your life circumstances; and programs to help with the life transition from marriage to separation and divorce.  For information on the programs available through Family Enrichment and Counselling Service Fredericton call 458-8211 or email


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