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Harriette Cole: When she acted puzzled about my marriage, it got me thinking

Harriette Cole: When she acted puzzled about my marriage, it got me thinking

DEAR HARRIETTE: I complain too much about my marriage, and I realize now that my friends are tired of hearing about it.

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At first, I told virtually no one, but over time, I have needed to confide in others to help myself process what I’m dealing with.

The problem is that I haven’t left my husband even though my issues haven’t changed over quite a few years. One of my friends asked me the other day if I had decided to stay in my marriage. I responded that I hadn’t decided anything, I just haven’t done anything yet. She gave me a quizzical look, and it got me thinking.

I don’t know what to do. I’m not happy with the status quo. I’m not sure that I can afford to live by myself. I haven’t convinced my husband to go to therapy yet. We are at a standstill.

I need help taking some kind of action, and I realize that my friends can’t help me get there.

— SOS

DEAR SOS: A professional therapist should have the tools to help you talk through your situation and come to terms with what is going on in your life.

You are correct in believing that your friends are not equipped to advise you on this.

You need to figure out what you want for your life, what resources you need to fulfill your desires and how to acquire those if you don’t already have them. That includes gaining the tools to communicate with your husband more effectively. Engage a professional and make a timeline for addressing your concerns.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have three friends who have suffered strokes in the past year. It has been devastating to see them struggle to heal.

At first this got me motivated to take better care of myself, including eating smarter and becoming more active. Then I sort of slipped back into my old ways of being — working all the time, not always watching my calorie intake … same old, same old. I know better, but I also realize it is hard to change my behavior.

What can I do to help get myself on a healthier track? I do not want to end up dealing with a health crisis that I have the ability to avert by acting now. How can I jump-start my fitness?

— Unmotivated

DEAR UNMOTIVATED: Start with a medical checkup. Determine everything you can about your health status. Find out what you need to work on to become a healthier you.

Write down everything your doctor recommends. You already know that includes regular physical exercise. Make a plan for what you will eat and how you will move. If possible, enlist the support of an accountability partner — someone you trust who will cheer for you and possibly go with you to work out.

Write down your tasks for each day — those that are for your health and those for the rest of your life. Check them off your list as you complete them.

Stay in close touch with your friends who are recovering as well. Learning more about their plight may remind you to stay the course.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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