In addition to the noisemakers and fireworks, it’s kind of a given that ringing in the New Year is supposed to be accompanied by a long list of resolutions that we commit to honoring in the coming year. They typically focus on self-improvement and are designed to make us better, thinner, healthier, wealthier, happier, etc. While 75% of us cling to our resolutions through the first week in January, the sad truth is, only 8% of us actually achieve our New Year’s goals. I’d like to offer my own thoughts about what you could focus on and how you can go about accomplishing your resolutions for 2016.
Too many of us set ourselves up to fail by making resolutions that we can’t keep. Research shows that this is partly because our lists are usually too long, and our goals are not tangible or measureable enough. This year, I encourage you to think in terms of smaller lists, more manageable goals, and baby steps. When you experience even a small success it is extremely reinforcing cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally. It’s easier to build upon the success of small goals and the cumulative affect can be powerful. Start smaller and simpler and in the long run, you’ll probably accomplish more.
In addition, as you choose specific resolutions, I’d like to offer a few ideas that can genuinely enhance the coming year for you.
- Make choices that enrich rather than hinder self-worth. You can apply this to relationships, mental and medical health, or the workplace.
- Practice acts of kindness. This includes being kind to yourself, loved ones, and strangers.
- Be afraid and do it anyway. Take a healthy risk that lets you grow personally or professionally. Check your fears, assess for and achieve safety, and then don’t let the fear hold you back.
- Make it a practice to be in the present moment. You might be holding on to sadness or regret about the past or you might worry about the future. Choose to notice the experience of “now.”
- Give yourself permission to get the support you deserve when you need it. Know that you don’t have to go through painful life experiences alone.
- Look for concrete ways to bring spirituality into your life. It can feel freeing to turn things over to a higher power, and it can give you a sense of comfort and hope when you connect to a spiritual community or philosophy.
If you could only make one resolution in the coming year, strive for increased self-compassion. When that’s in place, everything else becomes possible to achieve. When you love yourself it resonates to make good choices!
What do you resolve to this year, and how can you get there? Please share your thoughts in a comment.