So, you survived the holidays. The endless Christmas carols, flooding of your inbox with sales and last-minute deals, and the ever-present temptation of sweets everywhere you look. The end of the calendar year brings about the anticipation of a new year—an opportunity for a fresh start, making changes, ridding yourself of unhealthy habits, and maybe once and for all, creating and sticking to those New Year’s resolutions.
Why are resolutions so hard to keep?
For many, there is initial motivation after the new year begins, but as post-holiday life returns to the daily grind, we get back into our regular schedules and routines, and the changes that we are seeking haven’t become habitual enough to have a lasting impression. If 2018 is the year you are resolving to keep your resolutions, a shift in your perspective may help. Rather than thinking about the multitude of things you need to quit or do differently, it is important to evaluate where you are—recognize the parts of your life that are strong, healthy and positive. By focusing on your strengths, you can start from a place that feels more confident to achieve what you want.
Then, look at the changes you would like to make. Are they realistic? Do you have the means to accomplish them? Are there other steps involved in being successful in accomplishing what you have set out to do? From there, you can determine what your “resolutions” are, and perhaps instead of creating a resolution, think about creating goals that are focused, measurable, and have short-term positive gains. If not, the goals or changes may feel too large or overwhelming and may make it more difficult for you to feel like you are able to achieve them.
Many people set goals for themselves that are financial or health-based.
If your plan is to start saving, rather than trying to save $$$$/month, set up an meeting with a financial planner. A financial planner can help you get a grasp of where you are and what your long-term goals are. They can help you to create a plan that works with where you are currently and how to get to where you want to be. Or, challenge yourself to save a small amount per week or per paycheck. You will be able to see the benefit sooner, which will then motivate you to continue to work toward the longer term.
Want to become fit, or lose weight, or eat better? Completely overhauling your lifestyle just because the calendar changes from 2017 to 2018 can be a daunting task. Consider making daily changes. Try Meatless Mondays, walking 10-15 minutes each day, or joining a new class (bonus if you join with a friend-company is very motivating). Wellness also includes your mental health—if you are thinking about overall wellness, don’t forget about your mind! Make an appointment for a consultation with a mental health professional, or try meditation to recharge and refocus your brain.
Contemplating goals that have a greater good in mind?
Seek out local options for volunteering, or consider adding certain charities to your donation list. If you want to clear your space or environment, see if there are shelters, schools or non-profits that may benefit from your gently-used or unwanted items.
No matter what changes you hope for in the new year, think about keeping goals measurable, focused, and with options for positive short-term results. When you can accomplish smaller goals on the way to the “big goal,” the mini-successes create a cycle of motivational and positive feedback, encouraging you to want to continue. And if at first you don’t succeed, you can always try, try again. Each day brings the opportunity to create positive change!
Warm wishes for wellness in the New Year!
About the Author
Gail Gogliotti, LCPC, BC-DMT is a therapist at our Edison Park location. Gail works with adults and couples. Gail’s specialties include dance/movement therapy, body/mind integration, trauma, mood disorders, and stress management. If you are interested in working with Gail, send an email today.