The end of the year is quickly approaching. Now is the time to reflect on the past and set goals for your future. However, the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions never make it past the first week of January. Why do most resolutions fail, and what can you do to achieve yours? Here are some tips from the psychologists at Sherman Counseling.
Goals Need to Be Specific and Measurable
If you set a generic goal, you have no way to hold yourself accountable. New Year’s resolutions should be measurable and specific so you can make a plan to accomplish them. Instead of “I want to save more money,” say, “I’m going to save $50 a week.” Put that plan in place by setting up automatic deposits, or schedule a reminder on your phone’s calendar. This will keep you on track throughout the new year.
Resolutions Should Be Realistic
People often set themselves up for failure with unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. If you cannot afford to save $50 a week, cut the goal back to $20. You’re still making strides that you haven’t made before, but they are more in-line with your abilities. If you can’t stop smoking right away, agree to cut back each month (one pack a day, one pack every two days, one pack every three days, etc.). Gradual progress will add up to great success over time.
Consider the Past When Planning for the Future
Look back at past years. What worked well for you, and what didn’t? If you tried to stop smoking before, what made you start again? How can you avoid those obstacles moving forward? Learn from your past mistakes, and be honest about your overall abilities. That’s the only way to see long-lasting changes.
Don’t Get Knocked down by Temporary Failure
Think of the age-old classic “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” If you don’t hit your goals the first week of the new year, that’s OK. Start again the following week. You can make life changes all throughout the year. You don’t have to wait until January 1st to do so. By pushing through the tough times, you can remain focused on your resolutions.
Focus on the Underlying Issues
As you form and pursue your New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to think about what you actually want to accomplish. For example, you may think losing weight will boost your self-esteem, but there could be other struggles going on that need to be addressed. Has stress from work led to poor eating choices? Has distance in your relationship caused your self-image to falter? If you identify these root issues, you can plan resolutions that will properly address them.
Pinpointing the underlying issues isn’t always easy to do on your own. With counseling, you can get professional insight from a licensed therapist. Your therapist can help you view obstacles from a new perspective and find solutions fit for your personality and experiences. Contact Sherman Counseling at 920-733-2065 to schedule an appointment with a therapist near you.