Last summer, I met a new friend, Amber Bosselman, at the Virtual Cure SMA Conference. Amber is a certified life coach with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She uses her knowledge to help people change their mindsets so they can live the positive lifestyle they want. Amber specializes in serving the disability community.
I asked Amber to share some tips we can all use to start the new year off on the right foot (or wheel). Excerpts of our conversation follow:
HB: What advice do you have for people who are discouraged by not spending time with their families during the holidays?
AB: First, let it be hard. The first step to working through a difficult situation is to stop fighting the emotions. Let yourself be angry, sad, frustrated, or whatever emotion is present. This emotion won’t last forever, but if you can lean into it and experience it, you’ll feel ready and capable to move on in a healthy, productive way. Don’t skip this!
Second, decide why you chose not to see family. Was it to keep you and your family safe? Was it to follow guidelines and be a good citizen?
Third, ask yourself if you like those reasons. If so, that is what you lean on. I won’t sugarcoat it and say a lonely holiday will become easier if you practice this mindset. But hard isn’t bad. Being lonely means you have people that you love and want to be with. Quarantining means you have health and life worth protecting.
Last, get your brain working for you, not against you. Your brain will find the negative. Redirect your thinking with questions such as: What if nothing has gone wrong? What will I do to make this holiday season memorable? Who else might need help right now?
Would you recommend making New Year’s resolutions? If so, what kinds?
Instead of thinking about what you want to accomplish this year, think about yourself in three to four years. Visualize what you will have accomplished. What actions and goals does your future self care about? Those are the goals you should be working on right now.
What advice do you have to help people reach their goals?
New Year’s resolutions are hard to achieve, because you’re trying to create a result that doesn’t currently exist. You know you want to do it, but you’re not sure how. Your brain hates the unknown. The key to success is resolving the unknown.
Map out exactly how you will accomplish this goal. Break it down into steps, and get specific. Plug those actions into your calendar so you know what you need to do and when. After that, it’s not about willpower or commitment. It’s about following the beautiful plan you created.
What advice do you have for people who want to change their resolution or have decided not to complete it?
Goals shouldn’t be taken lightly. Choose a goal like you choose your marriage partner. Decide if you like the goal and your reasons for committing to it, and then commit.
If you “divorce” your goal, look at why. Not completing the goal is not as big of a deal as not following through on your commitment. So, look at your reasons, decide if you like them, and give yourself grace. What can you learn about where the process went wrong? What can you do next time to ensure success?
Aside from making resolutions, what can we do to prepare for the year ahead?
Hire a life coach. In all seriousness, find a way to invest in yourself and in someone, such as a life coach, who can support you and teach you how to manage your mind. Whatever you decide to do, whether that’s developing a skill, reading more, prioritizing self-care, or something totally unique, do it with purpose and intention.
Recognize that this year will probably be 50/50, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. When we let go of the false expectation that everything should be rainbows and daisies, we enjoy the positive more and don’t sweat the negative stuff.
Considering that last year was hard, what can we do to stay positive about the future?
Positivity about the future comes from total confidence in myself. When you learn the skill of having your own back 100 percent of the time, you know you’re the one steering the ship, and you get to create whatever result you want for this coming year.
I loved hearing Amber’s insights, and I’m grateful she took the time to share them with us. I hope you gained something from her advice that you’ll be able to carry with you into the future.
If you’re interested in learning more from Amber, you can follow her on Instagram.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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