How can we use this extraordinary momentum that we have in the start of the New Year and stretch it out, allowing our once fizzled goals of previous New Years to come alive again, to show promise of change and evolution? Here are my three recommendations on making New Year resolutions more achievable.
1. Instead of settling for 1 goal that takes a long time to accomplish (over 3 months), chunk it into multiple, shorter goals. This will allow you to give yourself some extra reinforcement during your journey (that day off of work, that piece of clothing you've had your eye on, or that chocolate pie in your refrigerator). These "mini-breaks" will lessen the stress on your mind and give you opportunity to be proud of yourself.
2. Be realistic. Resolutions should be individualized to you in every way possible. Whatever your reason for invoking change in your life, the process needs to be fitted to who you are, what you know your limits to be and how do-able the tasks you set for yourself are. Be kind. This is a New Year so start it off by loving who you are and respecting what your mind, body and emotional well-being can handle.
3. Make it fun! Delve into your creative juices and find any way to make this goal less grueling and more exciting. Are you competitive? Ask a friend or significant other to join and see who can reach their goal first, encouraging each other along the way. Are you motivated by positive feedback? Create a blog or journal about your adventure and invite those you care about to follow. Like to be wild and let loose? Complete your adventure doing something silly, such as wearing a tutu while running in the 5 K you signed up for.
Whatever your resolution, remember to prioritize your health and happiness. Welcoming 2016 with open arms and sending positivity and well-wishes to all of you dreamers out there. Happy New Year!
Stephanie P. Bathurst, MA, LCMFT
Marriage and Family Therapy