Two Tips for Resolutions

It’s almost a New Year.  The changing of the calendar signals the end and the beginning.  Each person experiences this night in light of the experiences the year brought to him or her. 

The long nights of this season are a natural time for slowing down and reflecting.  The plants let go of their leaves, and draw their nutrients down into their roots while they both wait and prepare for spring, and often we do the same. 

So the tradition of New Year’s resolutions makes sense.  But, my education and experience in helping people make lasting changes in their own behaviors and the behaviors of their children leads me to dislikes the tradition.  Pretty much everyone quickly abandons their resolution and is left feeling like they began the year with a failure, and with all we know about what influences behavior and encourages change, the odds were never in their favor.  With a few small tweaks, having a New Year’s resolution can actually work.   So I’ll give you some insight to help you be more successful if there is a goal or change around the corner for you.  

  1. Consider the timing.  New Years day is certainly a significant marker, and if you are feeling really eager, go for it; but it is possible that you need a little more time to rest, reflect, and prepare.  Januaury and February still have long nights and cold days.  They don’t necessarily inspire a “get after it” mentality, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the time to really clarify the “what” and the “how” of your goals.  Rest and preparation are actually really important components of growth and change.  
  2. Have a plan to “get after it” and “get back to it”.  Really working aggressively toward a goal is inspiring.  Making big progress early feels good, so “get after it!”   The problem: it’s difficult to sustain that focus and discipline.  When you realize that you have fallen off the wagon, so to speak; shift to your “get back to it” mentality. 

The idea here is to minimize the impact of losing focus, falling behind or returning to your old habits.  By shifting to a “get back to it” mentality, you can be kind to yourself by choosing to be successful with your next choice even when your previous choice was not.  You aren’t prefect, and it is a little silly to think you will be, so in that moment minimize the impact of getting off course.  Be kind to yourself and recognize your success when you do chose to return your focus to your goal.  After you are back at it, take some time to figure out the decision that lead you off course.  Here’s a hint: it’s usually several steps before you actually got off course.  The moment we make the choice that we consider the failure, we have made several choices that put us in a situation where a successful choice was really unlikely

That’s all friends.  You are a work in progress, both worthy of and in need of improvement.  

-If you or someone you care about would like personalized help in making changes in the coming year, you can find my contact information and hours here: https://alpharettacounseling.wordpress.com/contact/

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