New Year, New Me: Keep going

New Year, New Me: Keep going
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:56 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s about the time when our good intentions of the new year begin to wane and it’s harder to get to the gym or say “no” to that second glass of wine. Erin Widener, Healthy Community Coordinator with the YMCA of Alaska, says it’s normal.

“In my diabetes prevention class, the one that I teach, we talk about lapses and how lapses are normal and part of the lifestyle change,” Widener said. “Every person goes through it. It’s what you choose to do with it, that makes the difference.”

For Widener, she looks for connections when she’s struggling.

“My biggest thing is I reach out, right?” Widener said. “Find a cheerleader, somebody in your corner that wants to encourage you. That’s important.”

Widener admits that it’s not easy and there isn’t an end to the journey.

“I say we’re all on the same mountain but our paths look different,” Widener said. “And there’s no peak, like we don’t get to the top and say well now I can quit.” She uses the analogy of going to the dentist.

“I don’t always like to brush my teeth and floss all the time,” she said. “And even when I get a good checkup, the doctor doesn’t say, or dentist doesn’t say, ‘You can stop brushing now. Now that you’re doing a great job, you can stop brushing.’ No, they tell you to keep going.”

All of our experts recommend a little self-compassion.

Life Coach Diane Decker says we don’t have to make what we do mean it’s who we are.

“I think we attach meaning a lot of times to whatever it is. We attach some meaning about our identity. About what does it say about me as a human being that I, you know, haven’t written the novel yet, or I haven’t gotten my house all organized yet?” Decker said. “I don’t have to attach any of that meaning. I can just do the thing. What’s the simplest, easiest thing I can do to move in the direction of where I want to go? And I can just do that for now. And tomorrow, I’ll figure out, ‘What’s the next right thing?’”

Listen to extended versions of the interviews with all our experts on the In Depth Alaska Podcast.