Lepage Associates Newsletter
Mental Health Matters February 2008
Lepage Associates
Call: (919) 572-0000
In This Issue
10 Tips for Motivation
Lifestyle Change
Relationship Success

10 Tips for Increasing Your Motivation

1. Develop long-term global goals: What do you want to accomplish?  For example, do you want to lose 10 pounds, eat healthier, exercise more?

2. Develop short-term specific goals: How are you going to accomplish your long-term goals? For example, exercise three times a week for 30 minutes.

3. Create a time line: How long are you going to work on your goal? For example, exercise three times a week for 1 month, 2 months, etc.  Make sure it's achievable. Don't expect to run a marathon or lose 10 pounds in a week.

4. Be specific about how you are going to accomplish and measure your goals. For example, keep an exercise log and record each day that you run for 30 minutes.

5. Schedule it into your daily routine. Write it on a calendar and cross it off each day.

6. Give yourself small rewards. If you meet your goal for a week, do something nice for yourself.

7.Tell someone what you're doing! This helps you be accountable. Ask others to check-in with how you are doing and talk to people when you are struggling to meet your goals. People also might offer to do it with you!

8. Once you've met your target date, reevaluate your goal. If you didn't reach the goal within the time frame, reevaluate what you're doing. Is your goal reasonable? Is your time frame reasonable? Are you meeting your short-term goals? What's getting in the way? Do you need to look at your time management? Do you need more support from others?

9. Once you've met your target date, take a break and celebrate! Give yourself a week off from your diet or exercise routine. Do something pampering like buying a new pair of shoes or a new golf club, visiting an art museum, taking a quiet walk in the woods, etc. Throw a party for yourself.

10. Now, set a new goal! You've come this far so keep going while you have the momentum.


Now that the new year has begun, you may be thinking about making some changes in your life. Whether you have decided to get healthier or work on your relationships, we have some tips for you. We hope you find them helpful.
So You Want
a Healthier Lifestyle:
Are You Ready to
Make a Change?

Nearly everyone has at least one health behavior they would like to change: getting regular exercise, eating a healthier diet, losing weight, drinking less alcohol, and quitting smoking, to name a few. So why do most people struggle with taking action and improving their health behaviors? People struggle with taking action to change because they think that the desire to change equals readiness or motivation to change. However, making the decision to change an unhealthy behavior almost always involves ambivalence, and on an internal level, considering the pros and cons of changing versus staying the same. That ratio of pros to cons is what tells us if a person's desire equals readiness and motivation. If a person's readiness/motivation to change the behavior is low, the cause could be that the pros of staying the same outweigh the cons of changing. For example, in the case of health behaviors, the immediate rewards of the unhealthy lifestyles (e.g., getting fast food) often outweigh the costs of implementing healthier choices (e.g., preparing a healthy meal). If readiness and motivation are low, you will need to work on changing your perception of pros and cons, do more exploration of pros and cons, and get support to move into action! If readiness and motivation are high, you are ready to make the change. Your health is extremely important. Make your self-care and your health a high priority! We know how difficult it can be to take time out of your busy schedule to engage in self-care. But if you have desire to make the changes, you can shift that desire into readiness and motivation, and reach your self-care goals! Do you have a behavior you want to change? How ready are you to make this change? Click here for a brief rating scale for you to determine your current readiness for change or need for assistance. To increase your motivation, read the 10 Tips on the left.

Relationship Success

Valentine's Day serves as an annual reminder to show your partner you care or, at the very least, to let them know you are aware you still have a partner. But showing your partner how much you care should involve more than a box of chocolate once a year. Here are three quick tips to show your appreciation and improve your relationship every day of the year (and none of them involve hearts or bows).

Catch your partner doing something right.

It's easy to get caught up in being critical of what your partner says or does. But if you find yourself only saying negative or critical comments to you partner, your partner may feel as if nothing they do is ever good, which can affect their self-esteem or damage the closeness in your relationship. Although it is much harder to recognize and acknowledge what your partner is doing that you actually like, doing so rewards your partner and teaches them more about your preferences. Research by Gottman has found that couples in happy marriages make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each other and their relationship as negative ones. Point out at least one thing a day your partner has done that has led you to feel cared about, helped, or understood.
Let yourself be influenced by
your partner.

There's an old saying: Nothing is as dangerous as an idea when it is the only one you have. Some couples spend an enormous amount of energy trying to convince each other their point of view is "right" and their partner's point of view is "wrong." When both partners approach a conversation this way, nothing gets accomplished except damaging the closeness in the relationship. By consistently engaging in this pattern, you are essentially choosing being "right" over satisfaction and happiness in your relationship. The next time you find yourself trying to convince your partner your way is the only way, take a step back and allow yourself to hear and consider your partner's point of view.

Raise your partner's
priority on your
to-do list.
As you allow your schedule to become more and more packed, something has to give and that something typically is time alone with your partner. Try to designate alone time as a couple every week. By setting aside time for just the two of you every week, you are sending the message that your partner is important to you, and are allowing time for maintaining emotional connection. By minimizing distractions (e.g., turning off the television, putting your cell phone on silent), you are letting your partner know you value the time you have together.
This article was written by Dr. Nicole Imbraguglio, who specializes in interpersonal relationships. 



Happy Valentine's Day

Lepage Associates.