A True Resolution
The new year is coming! The time of year that resolutions are made (and broken) at an impressive pace. I can’t think of a single person who does not wish for something in their lives to be different; it is never more apparent than at the beginning of the new year. After all, we have an entire tradition around this idea! So what happens? Why do we start out so strong for the first several weeks, what happens that causes our resolutions to fade into oblivion? How can we stop this from happening?
So, let us take a look at a few things that may help keep your goals on track for 2019.
1. Write it down (and your reasons why you are setting your resolutions). You set your new resolutions for a reason, write those reasons down and keep it somewhere you can easily refer back to them. Writing things down gives you something tangible to pick up and remember why you set them to begin with.
2. Be honest with yourself about what needs to change. What is your role in this change? Do you have control over what you would like to change? How much control do you have?
3. Set realistic goals. For example, one of the most popular goals is going to the gym, we are going to lose weight or get healthy. Reasonable right? So why does it fail so often?
4. Set realistic expectations. (Self-disclosure alert!) Personally, I spend a lot of my day behind the computer sitting in a chair. Most days I am lucky if I get in enough steps to reach my minimal goal of 300 calories on my smart watch! Even I have failed in the past few years by repeatedly making the goal that I will hit the gym every day. Yeah right. As if a couch potato could hit the gym every day right off the bat. Hitting the gym is HARD WORK. I get sore, I get frustrated, and worse even, I get bored. My unrealistic expectations set me up for failure every time.
5. Start small. I get really frustrated when I go to the gym and try to bang out a 45-minute cardio session the first 2 weeks. Of course I feel like I’m failing because I am not there yet. Eat the elephant a bite at a time.
6. Accountability. This is where positive peer pressure comes in handy. We can make a lot of excuses to ourselves, but making excuses to others is much more difficult.
7. Remember to give yourself some grace. Meeting goals takes a lot of time and results are often not immediate. Small set backs are going to happen; we often give up when we experience an obstacle. Rather, be forgiving of yourself, it is only a failure if you do not begin again.
8. Reward yourself! Celebrate the little victories! They encourage you to continue moving toward your goals.
Remember, the new year may mark a decisive start date for creating new behaviors, but this is something that can be done 365 days a year. If at first you don’t succeed, step back and regroup, figure out where you can improve, and start again. You are already further ahead than where you were when you first started! Happy New Year!
Rachel Firneno, LPC, NCC
HM Counseling Services, PLLC