Friday, 21 December 2012

Be successful with your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s almost that time of year again.  When the hustle of the holiday seasons starts to subside, people start to look forward to the New Year and what that might bring.  For many people, it’s a time to set New Years’ resolutions or goals for themselves which often include health goals.  People often make resolutions to lose weight, to quit smoking, to go to the gym, to eat broccoli, but what invariably happens? By the first week in January, those goals have been abandoned in frustration.  Why?

Before we talk about ways to properly set goals, let’s first talk about the reasons goals fail.

Goals are guaranteed to fail if:

• you set them to please or satisfy someone else
• you are too vague in describing the goal
• you try to accomplish too much
• you only feel successful once you reach the ultimate goal
• you only focus on the goals that you didn't complete

When people set those New Year’s Resolutions, they have the best intentions to succeed.  The goal itself may not be the problem; rather, how it is designed is the problem.  For example, if the resolution is “I want to lose weight this year”, you can almost guarantee that it won’t happen based on that resolution or goal.  Try this: replace the word “want” with “wish”.  It now becomes “I wish to lose weight this year”.  You may wish and wish all you like, but unless you DO something, the wish or want will never materialize and the New Year’s resolution will not happen.

So how do you make resolutions or goals that actually work?  There are some points that need to be considered when setting a goal:

• It has to be your idea.  Don’t set a goal just to please someone else.
• It has to be achievable.   This means that it is realistic.  You should have confidence that you have at least a 70% chance of accomplishing that goal.  If not, then maybe it’s too ambitious and you should scale the goal back a bit.
• There has to be an action involved.  Your goal has to describe something that you will actually do.  Losing weight is not a goal because this is not an activity; there is no action.  However, if you set goals to walk regularly, change to diet pop, eat breakfast, give up the latte coffees, these are all actions that will help you lose weight which is the ultimate outcome.
• Your goal should include specifics such as what it is you want to do, how much or how often, when and perhaps with whom.  Detail in goals are very important!  It’s like a road map that helps you move along in the right direction and also helps you know when you've achieved your goal!

Back to that New Year’s Resolution of “I want to lose weight this year”.  Let’s make this a more meaningful goal.  How about stating:

“I will walk around the block for 20 minutes 3 times per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at 4:30 pm.”

This goal now is very specific.  If this type of goal is set and followed, then this will contribute to that ultimate outcome of weight loss.

Don’t abandon those thoughts about healthy behaviours for the New Year!  Just spend some time rephrasing what you want to accomplish and put them into a proper goal format.  You will then be well on your way!

Christina Vesty is a Registered Nurse and is the Chronic Disease Management Coordinator at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.

Check out Dr. Mike Evan's video called "What is the single best thing you can do to quit smoking?"

The LBD PCN has a FREE Smoking Cessation program at our Leduc office. Please call our office at 780-986-6624 or see your LBD PCN family physician for a referral.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Cross Country Trails

Cross country skiing is an easy and inexpensive way to keep fit during the winter season. Our region offers an abundance of cross country trails for public use.

Outdoor Ice Surfaces

Our region is a winter wonderland and there are plenty of ice surfaces maintained in Leduc, Beaumont, Devon and Calmar, free for public use over the holidays and throughout the winter season.

Kinsmen Park Outdoor Rink - located beside the High School on Corinthia Drive
Alexandra Park Ponds
 - along 50 Street between Black Gold Drive and 47 Avenue
Coady Lake
 - along Coady Boulevard in Meadowview neighbourhood
Leduc Resevoir
 - along Highway 2 overpass just south of Highway 39
West Point Lake
 - along Black Gold Drive in Leduc Estates neighbourhood
Please contact the City of Leduc for details on each surface.

LBD PCN staff Andrea, Corinne and Penny at Alexandra Park Ponds

The Town of Beaumont maintains several outdoor ice surfaces during the winter months. 

Please contact the Town of Beaumont for details on each surface.

The Town of Devon has prepared 3 outdoor ice surfaces:

Centennial Park – located north of John Maland High School
Outdoor board rink – directly west of Dale Fisher Arena
The Ravines dry pond – located in the Ravines of Devon

Please contact the Town of Devon for details on each surface.

The Town of Calmar has two outdoor ice surfaces:

Please contact the Town of Calmar for details on each surface.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Reducing Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a joyful time, offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family, but they can also be stressful. You may feel pressure to buy and give gifts. Maybe you are worried about money. The holidays can also be hectic. There never seems to be enough time to get things done. Think about the kinds of events that trigger stress for you during the holidays. Then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress. Here are some ideas:

Stress Reduction

Stress affects us all. You may notice symptoms of stress when disciplining your kids, during busy times at work, when managing your finances or when coping with a challenging relationship. Stress is everywhere. And while a little stress is okay - some stress is actually beneficial - too much stress can wear you down and make you sick, both mentally and physically. The first step to controlling stress is to know the symptoms of stress.


Know your spending limit. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don't spend more than you've planned. It's okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Don't buy gifts that you'll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off. 
Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn't have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings. 
Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend. 
Share the tasks. You don't have to do everything yourself. Share your "to do" list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.
Learn to say no. It's okay to say "no" to events that aren't important to you. This will give you more time to say "yes" to events that you do want to attend.
Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it's a holiday, family problems don't go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it's okay to set limits on your time at events and visits. 

During the holidays 

You may not be able to avoid stressful situations during the holidays, but you can plan to respond to them in a healthy way. 

• Take breaks from group activities. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Spend a little time by yourself if you can. Meditate, or do some relaxation breathing. Go for a short walk.
• Keep a regular sleep, meal, and exercise schedule. Limit your alcohol. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays. 
• Get support if you need it. Holidays can sometimes trigger depression. They can be especially hard if you are already dealing with the death of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship. You may feel embarrassed to ask for help, or you may think that you'll get over "the blues" on your own. But most people need treatment to get better. Talk with your doctor about counseling and medicine for depression. 

Coping with grief and loss:

by Dr. Alan Wolfelft

Mayo Clinic

Ledise Mason is a Registered Nurse at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.