December 30, 2017

Resolutions: Should I Make Them This New Year?

Mental Health & Wellbeing

The Big Question: To Resolve Or Not To Resolve?

It’s that time of year again, the time where Christmas has passed. Between time off and other holiday cheer, you can’t quite remember what day or time it is until New Years hits. So what do you do in your free time? Scroll the content online only to find that resolutions are trending. Yes, now is the time when you reflect back and plan for big changes moving forward.

Maybe this year you are asking yourself if you even should be making a resolve to change. Fifty percent of people don’t even remember their resolution by mid-year. And not so shockingly, ten percent of the population actually hold to their resolutions through competition.

But you, should you make them? Well it all depends on your history with goal setting.

Why You Shouldn’t Set Resolutions

Think back on resolutions you’ve made in the past years. First of all, are you making the same goals year after year? It might be time to think about if those ideals are truly important to you. Also, evaluating where they come from may be necessary. Bettering yourself is not a bad thing, but striving for an ideal you feel you’re never able to obtain isn’t ideal either.

In fact, continual disappointment can create a cycle of self-defeat and beating yourself up over not achieving your intentions. Historically, if this is your pattern, it is time to shift your focus from external goals to internal exploration. Understanding yourself, including where your ideals come from and why you aren’t able to follow through, is vital. With this knowledge you are better able to make choices and goals tailored to where you want to go in life.

Often, our ideals come from the family and culture we grew up in. Helpful questions to ask yourself are, “When did I first start striving to be …….?” or “Who’s voice is telling me to do this?” Individuals carry with them the people and experiences from life. If left unknown, those previous people and places can have tremendous power over our current lifestyle and decision. Unleash your curiosity about yourself in these moments so you can start piecing together where your goals and ideals stem from. Ask yourself who’s ideal you’re living up to and if the resolution is even attainable, let alone worth striving for.

Tracking internal content like thoughts and feelings also enables us to stay connected with the here. If you’re goals keep you in your head in a way that disconnects you from the present moment, it is time to stop being there. Understanding what is going on inside you not only helps you evaluate goals, but enables you to connect with where you’re currently at and appreciate life.

If You Decide to Set Resolutions

After doing some introspection, you’ve decided to go ahead with your goal. You decided it is healthy for you and won’t drag you down the cycle of disappointment and self-loathing. Instead maybe you’re feeling energized about the possible growth and accomplishment towards the goals you decided on- Nobody else!

Well then, the next step after evaluating is to make a plan. I would encourage you to break the year down into smaller segments like a month, with a reevaluation period during each segment. This allows you to stay connected with your goal, see small progress along the way, and tweak anything that isn’t working before it is too late.

Also, make sure you’re setting SMART goals. The more specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely- the better!

Growth Is Good

Growth and personal development are high priorities for us at Optimum Joy. We love this time of year and the energy people get to look at themselves and ask questions about who and where they want to be. If you’re finding yourself stuck or responding to life according to the people and experiences you carry with you, we would be honored to help you gain clarity. You can move forward without the cycle of disappointment! Best of wishes on your New Year’s intentions. Let us know if we can support you in any way!


Written by therapist Alexandra Hoerr

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