Ways to Handle Change Better: Be Optimistic

Ways to Handle Change Better: Be Optimistic

New Year's Resolutions. Have you given up yet?? We hope not. Change is hard and takes real intention. That's why many people give up on it and don't follow through. They don't plan the intentions. Hopefully this week you are finding some ways to handle change and stick with it.

Accept Uncertainty and Be Optimistic

Ways to Handle Change Better: Be Creative

Ways to Handle Change Better: Be Creative

Happy New Year from Imagine Hope! We hope this New Year is a chance for you to reflect and grow from the last year. You may be considering making some changes in your life this year—whether big or small. Change can be hard! It’s never easy to make a change AND stick with it indefinitely. This week, we want to offer you some suggestions that may help you handle change better. We hope that these suggestions are useful as you begin your journey to a better you.

What Drives Your Life? The Need For Approval

As Rick Warren states, "One key to failure is to try to please everyone".  Sound familiar? Many of us grew up in a home where we constantly tried to get the approval from our parents or other important people in our lives, only to feel like we constantly fell short of this.  As adults, we might try to continue this cycle by trying to make everyone like us or think we are "good".

When we allow the expectations of parents, friends, teachers, peers, or other people to control our lives, we aren't fulfilling our true purpose in life.  After all, other's opinions of us don't truly make us "good", even though it's nice to think other people hold us in a favorable light.

When we allow other's opinions of us to run our life and constantly seek the approval of others, we don't follow a path in life that gives us true joy and fulfillment.  Other people may expect things from you that are not only unrealistic, but may not even be on your radar for what makes you happy.  As Rick Warren also states, "Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it".

Does approval seeking drive your life?  If so, stop and ask yourself what YOU need from your life to feel fulfilled and to feel truly connected to your purpose.  If you are listening to the opinions of others over your own, you will miss your purpose and cause yourself unnecessary stress!

Source:  The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

SMART Goals - Part 3

SMART Goals - Part 3

This week we are talking about how we can work on setting goals for the new year in a SMART way.   Today I will be discussing how we can be more effective in setting goals that are ATTAINABLE/ACHIEVABLE.   Goals are meant to help motivate us to meet a standard for self-improvement or for improved performance.  In thinking about ways we can make our goals more attainable, I have identified of a number of questions we can ask ourselves in the process of setting SMART goals, and in particular, focusing on making them more attainable.

Have You Met Your Goals? Part 2

Have You Met Your Goals? Part 2

All week we've been discussing goals and how well we are doing this late in the year with the aspirations we set for ourselves at the start of the year. Today we're going to disuss how to avoid/prevent the obstacles to meeting goals discussed in the previous blog.

To avoid setting unrealistic goals, break goals into smaller, more manageable goals. For example, if your overall goal is to lose 20 lbs (or more), break down the goal and tell yourself, "I want to lose 5 lbs". 5 lbs is more achievable than 20 lbs

Have You Met Your Goals? Part 1

Have You Met Your Goals? Part 1

This year is flying by!  Back to school is right around the corner, and Hobby Lobby already has Christmas décor out in their stores!  It's been a long time since we made lists of goals and resolutions we wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the year. It amazes me how many people (myself included) will get pumped up in January to make big changes and by this point in the year some haven't even started working towards them.

What blocks you from working on your issues? Keeping consistent?

What blocks you from working on your issues? Keeping consistent?

There are many things that block individuals and couples from working on their issues in therapy. However, the one I see the most is keeping consistent. This includes keeping your progress and recovery a priority, and not quitting when it gets really tough. 

How To Create Fireworks in Your Marriage- Dream

Dream Together! Many couples begin their dating relationship full of dreams for their future, but once the marriage has become comfortable, they stop dreaming about things to come in the future.

To create more sparks in your marriage, you need to have something to look forward to-- what better way to do this than to dream!

Ask each other questions, such as:  "Where would you like to take a dream vacation in the next five years as a couple?", "What are your dreams for retirement?", "If you could have a dream home anywhere in the world, where would it be?", "What is your ideal kind of family week?".....

Dreaming together doesn't mean that your dreams have to be realistic.  Sometimes, it's fun to just dream about the things you would love to have or do, even when they seem unreachable.  Remember that it's the process of dreaming together, not necessarily what the content of the "dream" is about.  It helps you to continue learning about each other, as well as thinking about your future with your spouse!

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Accomplishing Goals- Natalie

It has been so cool to read Teri and Tamara's stories. Although I know them both well, I seem to always learn something new when we blog about our own personal journeys. I look forward to Joleen's as well. Natalie's Story

I have always loved learning, whether it be formal education or a simple self-help book. However, after college I did decide to take a break from school and get some "life experience" education in the field to see exactly where I wanted to specialize. So when I went to Graduate School, I felt a little rusty next to my younger, fresh out of college peers. I remember feeling shocked at orientation when they shared with us the stats of how many would actually make it through. I remember thinking, "Ok- you got in- let's just see how far you can make it. Let's make it through first semester." That was the first step in reaching my goal- taking it in small pieces when it looked impossible.

I remember studying for mid-terms and literally crying while I was trying to memorize things. My sister walked in on me and couldn't believe how upset I was. I told her it was impossible but I just had to do the best I could and hope for the best. I gave it my best and actually got A's in my 1st semester classes! I was so excited to keep going. Then 2nd semester rolled around. YUCK- Neuropsyc! In my Graduate School we had to pass every class with a B or it was a fail. I am a HORRIBLE test taker and this class was based entirely on our tests. Needless to say, I "failed" with a B-. I honestly thought about dropping out of school. I had NEVER failed a class. But I decided this was just a set back and that I would have to double up next year and re-take the class. I had to look at the big picture- being a therapist, not a Neuropsyc doctor! I can't believe I almost quit! I ended up getting an A the second time around. I look back today and can't believe that I actually almost gave up on being a therapist because I would have to retake one class and I didn't believe I could do it. Persistence and learning from your set backs are both so important when you are trying to reach goals.

It helped me tremendously that I had a great support system while I was in school. This is a must to reach your goals! I ended up graduating with very good grades, wonderful recommendations for jobs, and found a job being a therapist almost immediately. I am so glad I broke it into small pieces, stuck with it, and did not give up. Look at me now!! :)

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.

Accomplishing Your Goals - Tamara

Tamara's Story One of the biggest goals, and something I'm most proud of is getting my Master's Degree. I had known since high school that I wanted to be a therapist, but wasn't looking forward to all of the schooling it was going to take to get to this point. I was a good student, but I had to work for it. I don't think I realized exactly how hard graduate school was going to be. My program was extremely hard, and fellow classmates were dropping like flies after 2 months! There ended up being only 3 of us left in the M.A. program, and we had a great connection. We studied together and leaned on each other when it got rough. There were several times when I wanted to quit, but with the love and support of my parents and classmates I was able to keep my eye on my end goal.

How did I do it? It took alot of organization, planning, and asking for help throughout those 2 1/2 years. It was hard going to an internship all day, then going straight to class until 9pm at night, only to start all over the next day. Then, weekends would be filled with studying and writing papers. I had to be very organized to know what was due when, and pre-plan study time. I had to ask for help with cleaning, grocery shopping, and remembering to have a balance of fun and play. I had to remember that this "pain" was temporary. I also had to keep in mind that I was doing this for a purpose (my dream to be a therapist) & that there was an end. It was great knowing I had people believing in me and supporting me.

Not only did I accomplish my goals, but I also discovered how strong of a person I am. I also gained my closest friendship out of graduate school as well. I realized it's not just about reaching the goal, it's also about the journey and who you may pick up along the way.

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Accomplishing Your Goals- Teri

As therapists, we are always helping people set and meet goals to improve their lives. One thing Imagine Hope prides themselves on is that we are walking our own journeys. That being said each of us has worked on goal setting in our own lives and are walking the walk too. This week we are sharing examples of goals we’ve set and how we achieved them. We hope each of you can relate and even feel inspired to reach your own goals as you read our stories!

Teri’s story

Since I was a young girl, I have struggled with bad eating habits. I’ve lost and gained weight more times than I can count. I have done most of the diets out there and even had some of my friends in college joke about me being like Oprah!

I’ve spent thousands of dollars on special food, workout equipment, a personal trainer, and various sizes of clothing as I have “yo-yo’d” with my weight. I know many friends and clients that share this story.

After I had my first child, I decided it was time to take things seriously and stop looking for a quick fix. I had to do the hard work of diet and exercise. As long as I remember, I’ve always made excuses about why I could never be a runner. But it was time I taught myself how to do it.

One day I made up my mind and I started running. After a few weeks I was running a few MILES! I couldn’t believe I was able to do it. I got in the best shape of my life and I was a runner!

Then I had my second child…half way through that pregnancy I decided I wanted to run a 5K to help motivate me to get all of my baby weight off.

Three weeks after I had my second child, I started training and 9 weeks later I ran my first 5K! It felt great.

Even though it was a challenge and took a lot of time, it took me dedicating myself to this goal and not allowing any of my old habits to control my life as they had before. It started with me making a choice to own my goal.

Then I surrounded myself with an encouraging support system and believed in myself. I finally had to choose the hard road to get the results I wanted and it worked! Meeting this goal helped me develop confidence in my abilities and stretched me out of my comfort zone to a place I never imagined I’d be.

Do you set goals that stretch you out of your comfort zone? Do you own the goal? Do you have a support system to help you? As you set goals this year make sure you push through to get over the most difficult parts. the growth and confidence you feel on the other side is worth it!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

Goal Setting - Question 1

It's that time of year when we start fresh and new. McKay & Fanning have come up with 4 key questions to ask when trying to set goals. When asking yourself these questions for setting goals, don't forget to apply the questions to each of the 8 categories Teri introduced yesterday: 1. Material Goals

2. Family and Friends Goals

3. Educational/ Intellectual/ Professional Goals

4. Health Goals

5. Leisure Goals

6. Spiritual Goals

7. Creative Goals

8. Emotional/ Psychological Growth


Question #1: What Hurts of Feels Bad?

As you think about the areas above, apply each of them to your life. Is there anything that doesn't feel good or that has bad or painful feelings associated with them? How about anything you would like to change? This is one of the best ways to start your goals setting. Think of everything that "feels bad" in one column. It's ok if you have several items!

The next step is to change the "feels bad" into positive goals. Think of something concrete you can do to change each item in your "feels bad" column. Make sure it's realistic & a specific action.

For Example:

If you feel boredom in the evening, then you could join a book club. If you have backaches, then visiting the chiropractor monthly might be the corresponding goal. Lastly, if you feel disconnected from your spouse, you might set a goal of going on 1-2 dates per month to reconnect.

Once you figure out what hurts, you can figure out how you can set goals in these areas. Tomorrow we will introduce another question that will help you figure out other goals that you may want to set as well. Thanks for reading, good luck with your goals!

*Adapted from Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay & Patrick Fanning

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.