Talk about trying new things in the New Year with Marybeth Bethel
January 18, 2007
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Marybeth Bethel, a Lawrence psychotherapist and personal coach, will talk about taking new classes and trying new activities in tandem with the New Year, New You tab.
Hi, everyone. Today we've got Marybeth Bethel, a Lawrence psychotherapist and personal coach, here to talk with us about trying new activities in the new year. Thanks for joining us today.
Thanks, Christy, I'm pleased to be here.
Marybeth, can you tell us about your background as a therapist and coach?
Certainly, I've been in private practice here in Lawrence since 1990, and my focus has always been on human potential and creativity. I've done extensive research in these areas over the past several decades, and have developed classes with the most effective strategies to help people develop their potential and pursue more creative, effective lives.
I have a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and extensive skills and training in the use of imagery and hynosis. I've used principles of positive psychology all along in my practice, even before it was a popular approach, as it is now.
So this might be the time of year when diets have been set aside or big plans for 2007 are put by the wayside. How would you encourage people not to let go of the plans they have to get their life back on track?
People don't seem to have trouble thinking of things that they want to do or to change in their lives, but they usually DO have trouble staying with those goals. One way I suggest in my classes for people to identify and stay with their goals is to create a Future Vision for the year ahead at the beginning of each year. Focus on a few areas that are most important or compelling to you, and outline what you'd like to accomplish in those areas. Make a vow to attend to those goals, with the idea that you will work towards those goals, even if it's a little bit at a time.
For instance, last year I decided to focus on traveling abroad, something I've wanted to do for more than a decade. The first step was to get a passport! Next, I needed to choose a destination, then plan the trip. I chose Italy. Part of my interest in traveling was to experience another culture, so I also decided to learn some Italian. This led me to meeting Italian penpals, who I later met on my trip. This one goal led to many life changes that I would never have experienced if not for outlining that goal at the beginning of the year, and continuing to work towards it, step by step.
You can do this with anything, from weight loss to improving relationships, finances or finding a new job. It's essential to have a goal and to continue working towards it. You will stumble, you will have disappointments, and you will also have successes. Some of them may be great successes, but you'll never know until you try. I recently came across a quote about this by Herman Melville: "The man who has never failed....this is not a great man."
How might classes or courses help somebody meet their goals? Is this more useful than "going it alone"?
One of the best things about classes is the group support that you find. As you learn new techniques and try them on for size, you have the benefit of hearing about other people's experiences as well. It's HARD to make changes without support. Learning in a group environment can maximize your learning, and often times people create such a bond from their sharing that friendships occur and last far beyond the class. A class also offers the chance to hear many different ideas, and to get feedback on your progress.
What kinds of classes are available for people wanting support while they're making changes or trying new activities?
I've developed an 8-week class that I've been teaching for over a decade that helps people to change their lives. It's called Your Excellent Life:Strategies for Living Well, and you can learn more about it by clicking on Classes on my website at www.becomemore.net
I also teach two-hour classes once a month at the Community Mercantile Natural Food Store where I cover one aspect of my longer class. You can learn more about this on my website or at the Community Mercantile.
In your practice, do you more often encounter resistance to change as a result of fear or inertia?
Great question! I would say fear is often the greater issue that keeps people from changing. And because of fear, inertia results. Most of the people I work with are choosing to change, and my job is to help them get through those scary moments by teaching them new ways to think about fear, anxiety, etc.
Once people take a few steps towards their goals and experience a small bit of success, hope and courage begin to grow. With this growing momentum, fear subsides, and the effort of change becomes more rewarding.
Marybeth, do you have any other suggestions or parting words of wisdom for us?
It's a New Year, and you can make the most of it by focusing on the goals most dear to you and working towards them. After all, YOU are the only one who can make your dreams come true, and there's no time like the present to get started.
Have a great 2007!
Marybeth, thanks for joining us! For more information about goal-setting or new-year type activites, see the "New Year, New You" section that published in Sunday's Journal-World. That content also is available online here at www.ljworld.com.