Checking in on your New Years Resolutions
If you are like most people, you spent some time before New Year’s Eve thinking about how you wanted 2013 to be different and better than the year before. Then you pledged on December 31st that you were going to turn over a new leaf tomorrow. Now its been a few weeks, its almost a new month, and you might not be thinking about those changes as much anymore. You may have already “broken” your promises to yourself or given up on them for next year. If so, don’t be so quick to give in and don’t be so hard on yourself. Its not too late to jump back on the wagon and try to make this year a little better.
There is plenty of advice out there for how to make a good resolution or how to keep your resolutions. The truth is, pick something that truly matters to you. Not something that you think you “should” do or that others just want you to do. If you’re not making changes for you, then its hard to make them stick. Once you’ve decided what you truly want to change, make sure your goal is realistic, measureable, and give yourself props for making gains toward it, however small.
These are actually the same steps I help my patients with when setting goals in therapy. We start with what they want to be different or better in their lives or about themselves. Then we break this down into some measureable goals. Why measureable? Because we want to know when we’ve made some progress. Both for the benefit of therapy, but also to help with motivation. If we feel like we’re always putting in the work and not seeing any changes, it can be disheartening. Which is why our goals should also be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment because you’re trying to be something or do something that isn’t humanly possible, or isn’t truly you.
And lastly, celebrate your successes, no matter how small. We should have things in each of our days that gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment, but also have things in each of our days that bring us some pleasure. Reward yourself for working toward your goals, even if you only made one small step in that direction today.