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Reasonable New Year’s Resolutions Encouraged by Mental Health Expert

By Rhonda Miller | Published 30 Dec 2011 05:18pm | comments
Social worker Jeff Bennett is director of the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center in Gulfport.

With the new year upon us, some mental health experts advise making reasonable resolutions. But as MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports, it’s human instinct to want to make a fresh start with big resolutions.  

"To quit smoking." "Well, one, to lose some weight and number two, to exercise more." "To lose weight." "Try to save money, bring my lunch to work every day. "

That’s Joan Seymour of Long Beach, Bob Montgomery in Gulfport, Dianne Ladner of Pass Christian and Jonathon Waller of Gulfport. They all have the best intentions to improve their lives as 2012 begins.

But Jeff Bennett, director of the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center, has seen how these  high expectations play out.

"I’m reminded of it every year," Bennett says. "I walk every morning two miles. And at the first of the year, the streets are full of people, new walking equipment on, new shoes, fine looking outfits. Two weeks later, it’s me alone walking down the street."

Dianne Ladner, Bob Montgomery and Joan Seymour, admit it can be difficult to stick with a resolution.

"Have you made this resolution before?" "Several times, but I’m going to fulfill it this year. I promised myself, I’m going to do it." "I usually make those every year, and I break them every year. But I try. It usually lasts a couple of months." "Have you made this resolution before?"  "Yes." "How often?" "I’ve done it before. I’ve quit for over a year-and-a-half and started back again. But I’m going to do it this time."

Bennett says it’s best not to attempt to make sweeping or specific changes, like trying to lose 50 pounds after years of over-eating.

"We know in my business, that people on the whole, generally don’t change how they are," says Bennett. "We can make some changes, but we need to keep them general and not become too disappointed when we don’t achieve them, because we’re imperfect human beings."

Jim Franks of Ocean Springs already figured that out.

"No, I haven’t made any resolutions yet, therefore, I won’t be disappointed if I don’t succeed," says Franks.

So as 2012 unfolds, the advice from social worker Bennett is to resolve to do better in small ways.  And most important, to remember that  every day is a new day. 



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