To Resolution or Not Resolution?

We’ve made it to 2018 and the world couldn’t be more cynical.  The atmosphere in politics and on social media seems to have lots of people rolling their eyes and giving the finger to anything positive.  This year my news feed was filled a familiar theme:


Look, I get it…

New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep.  I’m as guilty as anyone.  Every year my resolution list includes- get to the gym regularly, eat better, and stop rooting for Buffalo Bills.  Each year they reappear on my list because I didn’t accomplish them the year before.

U.S. News reported that 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February.  There is research to suggest that only 8% of people meet their New Year’s resolution for the year.  That means that 92% of people fail. 

New Year’s Resolution- Good or Stupid?

Should we just give up on this “stupid tradition” and be more realistic?  No!!!!  As a mental health therapist, my favorite part of the therapeutic process happens BEFORE I ever meet my new clients.  It’s the moment where a person takes an honest and vulnerable look at themselves.  These people have the courage to acknowledge that something isn’t how they like it in their lives.  These people have the courage to believe that change is possible in their lives.  Finally, these clients believe that they are worth more.  In our first sessions, my clients set therapeutic goals (same as a New Year’s resolution), and then set off on accomplishing that goal.  The courage to dream and be better is something that ALWAYS inspires me.

In 2017, I read the book “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown.  In her book about vulnerability, she highlights one of her favorite speeches, which quickly became one of mine.  It comes from the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst,
if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Failure is necessary for success…

The world today needs more dreamers, more hope, more inspiration.  We shouldn’t be rolling our eyes at those who dare to try something hard.  We should be encouraging these people.  So, Dream!  Think!  Hope!  And most of all… work HARD!!   We’re all going to fail and fail again.  Keep going through the failures.  Keep learning from the failures. 

Feeling Inspired?

Now that I’ve hopefully gotten you inspired to set a resolution, I feel obligated to tell you what the research you should do to successfully accomplishing a resolution.  What are these 8% of successful people doing?  Turns out, they are using similar strategies. 

Below are some proven tips for success:

1. Keep it simple– This is the easily the best tip! Set small attainable goals instead of enormous life changing goals.  Make a resolution that you think you can keep.  Don’t get overwhelmed and think you need to reassess everything in your life.  Work towards one simple change at a time.

2. Make it tangible– Your resolution should be rational, realistic, and achievable.  Set a specific goal and make it measurable.  Instead of saying “lose weight this year,” say “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by March 1st.” Instead of saying “I’m going to stop eating meat,” say “I’m going to only eat meat for dinner twice per week.”

3. Be accountable– You’ll have better success at completing your resolution if you’re accountable to yourself and others.  To hold yourself accountable, try using apps or  calendars to track your behavior.  To be accountable to others, share your goals with family and friends.  Find an accountability buddy.  You can also join a support group to reach your goals, like joining a workout group or joining a group of coworkers quitting smoking.

4. Watch your language– Remember the mantra “What I say to myself is what I do.”  You have to watch the language in your head and the language coming out of your mouth.  Instead of telling yourself “I failed,” tell yourself “I had a setback but I’m learning from it.”  Instead of saying “I’m trying not to eat red meat”, say “I don’t eat red meat anymore.” 

5. Don’t be so hard on yourself– Don’t give up because you had that one cigarette or ate that entire box of cookies.  Nobody is perfect and failure is part of the process.  Forgive yourself and keep going.  Also, humor goes a long way.

6. Ask for Support– If you are having difficulty meeting your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help.  Therapists and Psychologists are uniquely trained to help people understand themselves, maximize their strengths, and minimize their weaknesses.  Professionals can offer strategies and insights that might be just what you need to finally meet your goal.

If you live in or around the Winston-Salem area and are interested in professional help to meet your resolutions or goals, counseling sessions at Christopher John Counseling can help.  You can’t achieve your goals unless you set them first.  Let 2018 be the year that you take that next step towards a better you.  Click here to schedule your free initial consult toady. 

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