For many businesses and individuals, the New Year brings the opportunity to evaluate the status quo, consider improvements and make resolutions. Quad Cities Business News decided to take the opportunity to reach out to some Arizonans who are in the business of improving the lives of others.
Loretta Love-Huff spends a lot of her time helping businesspeople achieve their goals. Through her company, Emerald Harvest Consulting, Love-Huff offers seminars and does one-on-one coaching. “I find a lot of people don’t take the time to write down their goals and don’t get crystal clear specific about what they are trying to accomplish.” She says a lot of individuals set goals because they think they are a good idea but their hearts and brains are left out of the process. By articulating “why a goal is important,” Love-Huff helps clients successfully achieve their intentions.
In addition to working as a business coach, Love-Huff has a coach of her own. In a recent conversation with her coach, she detailed a specific challenge in helping an I.T. management team. By detailing how many people would be affected by her efforts assisting the leaders, Love-Huff understood the gravity of her mission. “So understanding the why is really important on a deep and profound level and it will help you stay on track with your goals more than just saying I should make resolutions because it’s that time of year,” Love-Huff said.
She reminds people that bouncing ideas off another person does more than bring clarity to the process. “So when you’ve got somebody who can pierce through stuff that you’re just assuming is true and immutable, it opens up new possibilities, because I believe we have more options than we generally see and more control than we tend to take,” said Love-Huff. She also thinks achieving optimum potential requires a roadmap, passion and often, a shifting of the mindset.
That shift should include an objective look at ones’ professional images, says Timothy Clark, an assistant professor of management at Northern Arizona University’s W.A. Franke College of Business. “A key challenge about professionalism is realizing and accepting that it is in the eye of the beholder. Judgments of your professionalism are qualitative, emotion-based, and rarely done quite the same way by any two or more other people,” said Clark, Ph.D. “This is the reality of working with diverse people, so improving your professionalism begins with seeing yourself and your behaviors honestly, as if through their eyes.” Clark stresses that accurately recognizing strengths and continuously working toward behavioral changes can create positive change in the New Year, affecting a businessperson’s bottom line.
But changing ingrained habits is a significant process, says Dr. Sarah Edmonds, a licensed psychologist in Prescott. “When we make a resolution or use an affirmation, we are trying to create a new neural pathway in the brain that competes with our old one that says you do it another way.” Edmonds explains that people are often unable to achieve their New Year’s goals because the original neural pathway, which may have been in place since early childhood, is stronger than their resolution.
Replacing that old thought process is where Edmonds focuses her attention. “It follows some of the new research on changing memories in the brain,” said Edmonds, referring to a method she uses called Coherence Therapy. “They used to think that once a memory was in the brain you basically couldn’t change it. They’ve [scientists] found that if you’re able to activate the memory and activate an experience that disconfirms the memory at the same time, then that memory can actually be erased and changed.” This substantial shift in thinking helps people move beyond making an affirmation to actually altering the way they think and behave, leading to successes.
Dr. Edmonds recognizes that traditional psychoanalysis can get a bad rap because many people reach a level of intellectual understanding and are still unable to change; by employing experiential understanding along with the intellectual component, Edmonds watches people attain their goals.
Healthy Choices Lead to New Year’s Successes
The New Year can provide the chance to start anew. Naturopathic Physician Michael Knapp suggests people start with the basics. “When it comes to health, starting in the New Year, if you haven’t had an evaluation in some time, which many men and women have not, it’s probably a good idea to have a thorough evaluation to see what are your risk factors for your health,” said Knapp. “That’s done through history taking, learning about alcohol intake, your exercise regime and things like that.” Laboratory tests measuring cholesterol and heart risk are also a smart idea, he says, because they can reveal health issues.
Optimal physical health is important for people looking to change or improve their lives, and today’s doctors often integrate the latest findings on health. Dr. Knapp, for example, discusses stress and its many consequences with all his patients. “We’ve learned so much just in the past 15 years just on the way the brain communicates with our hormones and how all that communicates with our immune system as well so it is extremely complicated.” Some of the solutions are the tried-and-true methods of exercise and nutrition. For some people, Knapp also suggests relaxation techniques and guided meditations, many which are free or nearly free, he added.
Making New Year’s resolutions can be meaningful, says Dr. Knapp, but he encourages attainable goals and baby steps. “Helping them understand where they are and helping them make short-term changes – and maintaining that – helps people be successful.” Whether the plans are working or not can be easy to decipher. “And you can measure it with how people feel; they bounce out of bed in the morning, they’re not dreading going to work when that stress is better managed.” Knapp says the intricate relationship between the body’s systems is better managed by a holistic model.
The Quad Cities’ Dr. Cheryl Hamilton, of the Women’s Health and Healing Center, agrees. She believes health is a conscious choice, and the more conscious people are, the more they will want to achieve better health. In an email to Quad Cities Business News, she encouraged eating foods that promote health, exercising (especially in nature), and maintaining a healthy mental outlook. “Paying attention to what you expose your mind to contributes to a positive outlook and vibrant energy,” said Dr. Hamilton. A practical way to accomplish this, she added, is to live in gratitude and keep a gratitude journal. “Allow yourself to feel gratitude with every moment of life, which allows you to manifest even more to be grateful for. Happy New Year!” QCBN
Dr. Cheryl Hamilton’s Tips for Health
Gear down at mealtime – practice presence in eating.
-Put your fork or spoon down between bites.
-Allow yourself to recognize that you are chewing and swallowing.
-Take time to taste the food.
-Allow your senses to delight in the aroma and texture of the food.
Ravenous appetite? Ideally, the total volume of food eaten at
mealtime should equal the size of your fist. This allows the stomach
juices to properly begin the process of digestion, which means less
indigestion. Here are some easy portion size equivalents:
• 3 oz. serving of meat is equal to a deck of cards
• 3 oz. grilled/baked fish equals a checkbook
• 1 cup of yogurt is equal to a baseball
• 2 tablespoons peanut butter or hummus equals a golf ball
• 1 tablespoon butter is equals a poker chip
• 3 oz. muffin or biscuit is equal to a hockey puck
• 1 oz. of cheese is equal to three dice or a domino
Other tips for New Year’s health:
• Don’t drink alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach. You’ll
lose your decision-making skills and be more apt to overeat.
• Keep a glass of water in your hand to sip on. Better yet, have a
seltzer with a lime splash and a little stevia to satisfy that sweet
• Nibble on veggies most of the time and keep your indulgences
to one or two small treats. Most importantly, enjoy the treats
• Lose the “Oh well, I’ve already blown it – I’ll start my diet again
tomorrow” excuse to pig out. Make each moment the first
moment of the rest of your life. Make each moment something
you want to remember. QCBN
Dr. Hamilton is a Naturopathic Doctor in Prescott and Prescott Valley
Story written by Theresa Bierer