How to Make (and Keep) Your New Year’s Resolutions

By Rachel Boone, LPC       

When the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, everything feels the same, yet somehow different. It is an eerie sensation that feels like a purgatory between the previous year being put to rest, and a new chapter beginning. Along with this new chapter comes the pressure to be a better you, or sometimes, even a whole new you. As you check your phone in between conversations of what the new year entails, the posts begin pouring in. Family, friends and even acquaintance’s resolutions and highlights of the previous year seem to shadow the year that you experienced, along with the one you are looking forward to. All of your accomplishments and aspirations fade into the back of your mind as you see the smiling faces of those you follow. In order to make up for the shortcomings of the previous calendar, you must make a significant change: become a new you. 

When comparing yourself through the lens of social media, negative thoughts and feelings towards yourself may arise. While it is important to continue to improve yourself year round, it is equally important to not overwhelm or burn yourself out with impossible goals. SMART goals are a healthy way to make (and keep) New Year’s resolutions that do not overwhelm or exhaust you, but still allow you to add tools to your toolbox. SMART goals are flexible and can be adjusted to better suit your ambitions. The bottom line is, you may “fail”. Being able to pick yourself up through self compassion allows you to readjust your goals, or simply accept where you are at. Here is a deeper look into creating SMART goals and using self compassion to help you make (and keep) your New Year’s resolutions.

Setting Achievable Goals (SMART):

  • Specific: Goals should be clear, detailed and specific, so that they are easier to achieve.
  • Measurable: How will you know when this goal is complete? Having measurable goals assists in tracking your progress, and knowing when you are closer to achieving your goal.
  • Attainable: Your goals should be possible to achieve, but should still challenge you.
  • Relevant: Your goals should stretch your skillset and align with what matters to you. 
  • Timely: Having goals within a reasonable time frame helps to ensure you do not avoid your goals.

An example of a SMART New Years resolution is “I will initiate a hang out with a different friend each week via text or phone call for the next 4 weeks to improve my value of connection and friendship”.

Self Compassion:

Self Compassion is caring for yourself in the same manner you would a close friend or loved one. Validating and normalizing  your own thoughts and emotions is an important piece of self compassion. This could look like “no wonder I struggled to accomplish that goal, I was sick half the week” or “no wonder I feel disappointed, this value is really important to me”. Self compassion is vital in goal setting, as it takes negative emotions and turns them to compassionate thoughts and actions. Just remember: it is normal to “fail”. Self compassion allows you to pick yourself back up, stronger than before and is crucial to make (and keep) your New Year’s resolutions.

For more help on how to make (and keep) your New Years resolutions call one of our experts today!

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