New Year’s resolutions often fail
because toxic emotions and experiences from our past
can sabotage us or keep us stuck with the same old thoughts, patterns and regrets.
Do you remember any of your New Year’s resolutions from last year? If so, how well did you do with them? Most of us who make resolutions are serious about keeping them, but somehow our resolve comes undone soon after the year gets underway.
Making a resolution is a step toward some real changes. We usually start with an idea or perhaps a suggestion. We may move to a resolution. The final step is action. The road between intent and accomplishment seems long and dark, often littered with resolutions which don’t quite make it for one reason or another.
Our bodies would be in better shape if we ate more sensibly or exercised more. We would feel more accomplished if we learned skills we promised ourselves we would practice. Feeling more prosperous would follow being more careful with our money.
What happened to all these fine resolutions you made? Perhaps you acted impulsively, not considering whether you had the ability to follow through with them. Were they all that important to you in the first place?
Rather than latching onto the first resolution which comes to mind, you could stop to think before resolving. What have you learned about yourself over the last year? Did you discover or develop s any new skills? Did you become more aware of your strengths or weaknesses in following through with changes? Did you learn there were things you couldn’t do? With these thoughts in mind, it should be easier to decide on a resolution which moves you along the road toward your life goals and uses strengths and skills you know you have.
Once you have decided on a resolution, the next step is to keep it in mind as the year progresses. One possibility would be to write a few key words on our calendars on the first of each month, reminding you to stop and think about how you did with your resolution over the past month. It is also a chance to think about how you can refine your resolution over the next month. If a month is too long, try doing it once a week.
You might discover as you go along that you bit off more than you could chew and your resolution is somewhat too ambitious. Maybe you can work on part of the resolution this year and save the rest for next year. Maybe you will discover you don’t quite have the skills to carry off your resolution. A mini-goal could be to learn the necessary skills from someone more proficient than you are and then return to your resolution.
Keeping track of your resolutions, progress and accomplishments will help you stay more focused on your long term goals, using your skills and strengths. You will become more aware of what you have to offer and learn to better appreciate yourself. Maybe next December you will be able to look back over the past year and see you have become a little more of the person you would like to be.
Life Lab Lessons
- Can you think of one resolution you made in past years?
- How well did you do with it?
- What would you most like to have different about yourself in the next few months?
- Try that for a resolution.
- Then track your progress putting it into practice.
For more about Joe Langen’s writing, see his website at www.slidingotter.com.