NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Now that Thanksgiving is over and the full focus is on the December holidays, that means people are beginning to think about New Year’s resolutions. Some with excitement at the idea of a new start and others with dread.
The making of New Year’s resolutions can be a positive activity. Resolutions are essentially goals that one is setting for oneself. It’s within the making of these resolutions that one reflects upon what they value and what adjustments or changes they’d like to make in their lives. Unfortunately, more than half of all resolutions fail which can lead to one to feelings of shame from having not seen them through.
New Year’s resolutions can be tricky. They often tend to be too vague without specific steps (such as “go to the gym more” or “write a book”) or too extreme (such as “lose 20lbs in 2 months”). Not to mention that these new action plans are being put into play when many are feeling the post-holiday blues and half the country is in the midst of the darkest and iciest time of the year. Doesn’t encourage one to get out and drive to the gym, does it?
However, with a little adjustment in one’s thinking and planning style, making New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to ring in 2022 and set yourself up to accomplish what’s on your list during the year. Some things to consider would be:
- Creating a realistic plan with specific steps. Have you heard of SMART goals? Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound. Take that goal of writing a book and break it down. Are you looking to write a certain number of words a day or perhaps you want to have a chapter done within a certain timeframe? Writing out the steps you want to achieve with specificity means you have a greater chance of reaching the finish line of your larger, overall goal.
- How can you set yourself up to succeed? Using the book example from above, do you have a comfortable place to write undisturbed? If not, what needs to be done to create that? Are you aiming to keep yourself well hydrated this year? Would a fun cup help or a larger water bottle? And remember, what works for you may be different than what works for others. If you keep seeing people talking about that gigantic 64oz water bottle and what you really need is a better tracking system in your planner then go for it! This is about what each individual needs on their individual journey to best set themselves up for success.
- Have a recovery plan. What will you do if and when there are set-backs? If you stop working out for a few days will you need to adjust some future work-outs accordingly? Maybe consider whether the time you’ve been working out is really convenient for you or if, perhaps, moving the workouts to a different time would be better. This leads us to the next consideration…
- Is it possible to get a head start by practicing your anticipated resolutions in December? January 1 is often viewed as the be all and end all of start dates. It’s all or nothing, go big or go home…however you want to describe the first day of new resolutions. But, if one looks at starting in December as a few weeks of practice time, there’s no pressure. Want to start running in January? Great! Why not start walking in December? This allows one to put into your new plan into play but with a no-pressure-applied ability to tweak that plan as necessary. Maybe the plan will go as hoped for and that’s great. One can jump in on January 1 with confidence. But maybe it will be discovered that a scheduled time needs to be adjusted (as mentioned above) or one needs to do a little more reading about the planned changes. Whatever it may be, the desired resolution can be explored without pressure.
January can be a month with high motivation levels, with a clean slate and lots of excitement for making positive change in one’s life. With a little reflection and planning, one can hopefully sidestep some common pitfalls and, instead, celebrate a steady stream of small but meaningful steps towards a larger goal.
American Psychological Association. (2010, April 22). Making your New Year’s resolution stick. http://www.apa.org/topics/behavioral-health/new-year-resolutions
de St. Aubin, E. (2017, February 14). Are new year’s resolutions a good idea? Retrieved from Medium website: https://medium.com/magazines-at-marquette/big-question-are-new-years-resolutions-a-good-idea-55eab622896c
Guinness, Harry (2019, December 2). You should start practicing new year’s resolutions now. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com