It’s that time of year again! In addition to holiday shopping and grocery lists, we’re "supposed" to make a list of our New Year’s resolutions. As a therapist, I’ve always disliked this ritual because by the end of January, more than 80 percent of us either forget about the changes we’ve promised to make or lose our willpower to sustain them. Whether we realize it or not, resolutions often set us up to fail and can compromise self-worth: definitely not what we want to feel in January!
The New Year can be a great opportunity to reconnect with and clarify our values and priorities, but given the incredibly low success rate for giving up, modifying, or changing behaviors, the real focus should be on understanding why resolutions don't work. Instead, let’s ask what we can do to increase the likelihood of making our new coveted habits stick.
I’d like to suggest that rather than focusing on making-and then breaking- resolutions, the new goal is to become curious about our resolutions! This means a willingness to gain insight and self-awareness about the behaviors we think we want to change or let go of, while taking a closer look at whether our resolutions are effective. Honestly addressing these seven questions can be the true measure of accomplishment in the coming year.