Don’t set New Year’s resolution goals too highNew Year’s celebrations often are accompanied by vows to make drastic lifestyle changes. The infamous New Year’s resolution can often include items like losing weight, quitting smoking or drinking, being a better spouse, painting the house — the list can go on and on.
By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer
New Year’s celebrations often are accompanied by vows to make drastic lifestyle changes. The infamous New Year’s resolution can often include items like losing weight, quitting smoking or drinking, being a better spouse, painting the house — the list can go on and on.
Dr. Jill Zimmerman, president and owner of Integra Counseling Services, 206 Walnut St., says New Year’s resolutions can be a double-edged sword.
“It is good to get focused and to make plans,” Zimmerman said. “But resolutions can also set people up for disappointment.”
She said the key is realistic goals.
“The new year can be a good time for reflection, both in our personal life and careers, but we don’t want to set ourselves up for a fall,” Zimmerman said. “We need to be realistic because if we constantly fail it can lead to depression. That’s why New Year’s resolutions are a mixed bag.”
She said her business can be unpredictable during the holidays.
“Oftentimes people think counselors are extremely busy during the holidays, but it is usually a bit unpredictable.
“Clients will often put issues on hold during the holidays because they don’t want to have anything ruin the celebration. For example, a divorce issue will usually be postponed until after the holidays.
“But, then sometimes people get melancholy during the holidays — they go to church and see happy families and wonder why their situation is not like this.
“The amount of clients seen during the holidays varies from year to year.”
She said counseling sessions this year are down a bit, but there may be other factors that enter into the equation.
“The economy can be a factor,” Zimmerman said. “Even if people have insurance, they have to come up with a co-pay, and mental health is not always the highest priority as, for instance, physical help.
“If someone breaks an arm, they will get immediate treatment. It may not be a good strategy, but mental health is sometimes pushed to the back burner.”
Her advice to people as they enter a new year — do something to break the routine.
“There are many things we can do that are free or don’t cost very much,” Zimmerman said. “It’s important to escape. People need a break from the day-to-day grind.
“The national news is gloomy, we are involved in an early winter — we need a diversion from the ordinary.”
She said it can be as simple as going to the library and checking out a good book to attending a movie matinee or community event.
“People often say they can’t do this or that because of the cost. There are plenty of activities that can be done either free or at a reasonable price.”
Integra Counseling Services maintains a private practice specializing in relationship difficulties, PTSD, phobias, grief and loss issues, depression and anxiety, domestic/sexual abuse, eating disorders and performance enhancement.
Zimmerman has a doctor of philosophy degree in human services from Walden University; a master of science in education, counseling and guidance from North Dakota State University; and a bachelor of science in medical technology from NDSU.
She was the director of Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic Abuse from 1985 to 1992, and the executive director at Children Are People Support Groups, an organization serving children from chemical-abusing families, from 1992 to 1999. She opened a part-time private practice in Hudson in 1994 and went full time in 1999.
Among Zimmerman’s certifications are: licensed marriage and family therapist; licensed professional counselor; certified family life educator; certified vocational rehabilitation specialist; certified trauma specialist; and AAMFT clinical member.
For more information, call Integra Counseling Services at (715) 386-9011.