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Image result for happy new year 2017Well, Happy New Years…  Here comes 2017, a new year, new possibilities, and will we make the best of it?  It is so hard to believe 2016 is gone.  I’m still sitting here wondering what happened to it.  The holidays were kind of surreal to a point.  I don’t know if it is because both Christmas and New Years were on a Sunday and then the holiday was celebrated on the following Monday just really has me off kilter.  My question is why do we need to take off the Monday when the holiday was already over?  Do people really need to take that day off?  What about us who work a weird schedule and Monday is already our day off?  I do know I was sitting at Christmas lunch with the family and it just didn’t feel like Christmas.  I know I live in Texas and it was in the 70s, and we were sitting outside, but the whole year of 2016 was a bit weird.

What I do know is I need to get my goals in writing for the new year.  I have never believed in resolutions.  Honestly, what is a resolution other than a hope or wish that has no plan?  Most people barely get two weeks into January before they have given up or forgot what their resolution even was.  What we need to do is make goals.  Goals are something you put in writing and then make a plan on how you are going to make them work.  Let’s say you want to lose 40 pounds.  Okay, good goal, but how are you going to do that?  You then make your short, medium and long-term plans on how you will make that happen.  Short term, lose five pounds in one month, medium 20 pounds within six months, and long term is by this time next year you will have lost the weight.  Now, just putting that down on paper is a start, but it still isn’t a goal.  To be a true goal you now need to put down the steps to get there.  Choose your diet, plan your meals, set a certain amount of time each week to exercise, and then you put these steps to the medium and long term goals also.  You should sit and do this type of planning to every goal you have for the new year, whether it be personal, financial, or business.  One thing I did was Google goal planning templates and the search came up with many free or very inexpensive forms to help you figure out how and what you really want to do, and then a plan to make it happen.  A lot of people try to set goals that are too hard to obtain and then when they fail they just give up.  Remember they should not be so simple that you barely have to work obtain the goal, but it shouldn’t be so hard that there is no way to obtain it.  Don’t set yourself up to fail by making goals that are unrealistic.

I know last January I said that 2016 was the year I was going to start writing fiction.  Guess what, I have like five or six different half started books that now I have no idea where I was even going with the story.  I just said it was the year for fiction writing, I didn’t make exact goals to get there.  Exact goals would have been a short story each week, or so many words written per week, or something that I can accomplish that is not dependent on someone else doing something…  The goal needs to be something tangible and related to you and your wants and skill set.

I am currently still working on my goals for the year.  I’m trying to make sure I am setting up goals that I can work towards, a plan for 2017, so on New Year’s day 2018, I’m not sitting in the same place I am today wondering what happened to the past year and why I didn’t get anything accomplished that I had planned to do.  Until next time…

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Upfront I’m going to say I am not a medical professional, doctor, counselor, etc. so any advice I give pertaining to depression is only from personal experience.  I am 54 and have been fighting depression for at least 35 years.  I also have loved ones, friends, etc. who deal with different types of depression, and I know what works for me and them, but if you know someone, or even yourself, that is talking about wanting to die, dig a hole and lie in it, find a bridge and jump, or other things that make you wonder, you need to get them/you help.  It isn’t like the old days when everyone knew Aunt Sally had mental issues, but no one talked about it, while she fell deeper and deeper into her depression.  There is still a lot of misinformation about depression, and someone who has never experienced it really has no idea of what you are going through.  They can be empathetic, but until someone goes through the debilitating condition of depression, no one can truly understand.  With that said, it is that time of the year when depression really seems to hit people.  I have gotten emails from people trying to figure out if a loved one is really depressed or how can they tell.  I have friends and acquaintances who are feeling down and are on the edge of just being blue and having depression.  I do believe it is something about this time of year.  Not only is it the holidays, but it is also a new year.

Part of the problem is everything you see or hear seems to talk about how the holidays are not complete unless you are with family and having the perfect holiday get together.  The kids come in from college and aunts and uncles come in and everyone meets at grandmother’s house and it is a big happy event.  Well, very few families can live up to that picture.  Some people have lost all their loved ones, either to death, distance, or being estranged either due to the other person or themselves, so when you see those commercials or hear your coworker talk about their big family events, it really could get a person down.  Even when you have all your family able to come together that doesn’t mean everything is going to be good.  For years we were happy when we were able to get through a family event with no fights, screaming, or other assorted issues.  Someone asked me how my Christmas was and I told them everyone got along, the food was good, and I got to see the grandkids, so it was a great day.  Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

The next problem is we are entering a new year.  This makes a lot of us think about all we didn’t accomplish in 2015.  How we are getting older and time is passing faster and faster, so if we don’t get our crap together we are going to find ourselves 10 years from now in the same situation, just 10 years older with less options.  That can really get a person to fall into a funk.  Then people do that whole stupid resolution thing.  You are just setting yourself up to fail on that one.  So, you are going to get in better shape, how are you going to do it?  Writing a vague list of things you want to change or do different in the next year is basically just writing a shopping list and then not going shopping.  Until you break those resolutions down into workable goals with time deadlines and a plan to make it happen, you are just asking for failure.  You have to be careful though when you set goals, as you don’t want to set goals so easy you can get them done 15 minutes from now, but then you sure don’t want a goal so difficult you couldn’t accomplish it in a year, let alone in a month or week.  One of my goals is to lose 50 pounds before the end of the year.  Good idea, but how am I going to accomplish that?  Am I going to keep doing the same thing I’m doing now up until December 20 and think I can starve for the next couple of weeks and make my goal?  Of course not.  I need to make a lifestyle change.  Do things differently daily, weekly, and monthly.  Have a plan written down of how much I’m going to work out each week, what will I eat daily, keep a food diary, etc., so I have the ability to fulfill my goal instead of at the end of 2016 wondering where the year went and still needing to lose at least 50 pounds.

But, I will get back on track here, when it comes to depression there are so many types that it really is hard to tell if your friend or loved one is depressed, unless they are so far in that they are not even functioning anymore. One of the emails I got this past week asked about hermit mode.  The person goes into hermit mode with some people but not others.  I gave them this quick overview on depression and thought it would be good information for others.  Just about everyone at some time in their life gets the “blues.”  That is when you just don’t feel like yourself.  Some people say they are in a funk.  They just aren’t happy.  They are focused on the negative and feel bad.  This can be brought on by anything from hormonal changes, the weather, etc.  There are some parts of the country where they have such long winters, short days, and gloomy days that people go into depression.  For this type of situation, they get special lights that mimic the sunlight.  They sit under it for so long per day and they get to feeling better.  Most people who are just blue don’t need medication.  They can still function, but are just not themselves.  They probably need to talk to their doctor, but most people should not be given drugs for the blues.

We then get into clinical depression, bipolar, etc., the conditions where the person is so deep into their depression they have lost all joy in their life.  They can’t get out of bed.  They quit taking care of themselves and normally when they get to this point they need medication.  With a bipolar they are either very high or very low and not much in between.  With your clinically depressed they will go into hermit mode not wanting to talk to anyone.  If they are not deep into their depression they may be able to function enough to go to work or do activities of daily living, talking only with those they have to, trying to make people think they are okay, but once they get home they shut the door and try to hide from the world.  But, this is just a short overview of different types of depression, as there are so many types of mental illness that if you or a loved one are acting different, withdrawn, strange, etc., then it may be time to find professional help.  Don’t forget there are a lot of online sites that have questionnaires that can help you figure out if you or a loved one do have a problem.  There are also hotlines to call if you feel like you can’t take it anymore, as nothing is so bad that it warrants taking your own life.  With that said, I promise my next blog post will be more uplifting and fun…  I may even talk about “the girls.”  Until next time….

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