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New Year, New Beginnings

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LauraRestaurantAny new beginning can serve as an invitation for change and excitement. As a new counselor at the WCA, I am learning things from my colleagues and clients every day. I am originally from the Bronx, New York and I got my undergraduate degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon and earned my counseling degree at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. At each internship site and job, I’ve learned new skills and ideas that help me help my clients. Gaining experience and skill is a gradual process that comes from trying new things, reading new books, and being open to feedback from colleagues.

The transformation from student to counselor consists of thousands of tiny steps : practicing microskills for two minutes at a time, then five, then ten eventually led to full sessions with clients, incorporating skills that go back to that very first class in graduate school.LauraWithMoose

Many people enjoy creating New Year’s resolutions at this time of year, but as you may know from experience, they’re not always the easiest to keep. My advice on making the best of a New Year’s resolution? Don’t make one. Resolutions tend to be vague and often over-the-top. It’s difficult to achieve a goal when it is unclear or unattainable. Instead, set yourself up for success by making a list of 19 things to do in 2019. These goals should be manageable, specific, and one-time activities. For example, instead of making a resolution to “be more active,” you could make a list of 19 smaller goals including “walk or run a 5K,” “make a playlist for dancing in the kitchen,” and “hike Table Rock.” These are straightforward goals that you can cross off one by one – and you may find that by the end of 2019, you’ve accomplished that resolution of being more active after all.

I use this strategy for personal goals in my life, too. For example, I enjoy running and several years ago decided to run a marathon. But of course it would be silly to just expect to go out and run a full marathon the moment you decide you want to. Instead, I trained for and raced a 5K, then a half marathon, and then a full marathon. I love to read, and each year I set a goal for how many books to read. In 2018, I read 43 books. It sounds like a lot, but just like any goal, I took it one step (or rather, page!) at a time. Happy New Year!

Laura L. Castleman, LPC

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