What a great time of year! Not only to reflect upon what was, but also to dream and plan what could be. As much as they are maligned, New Year’s Resolutions are not destined to fail – a few simple guidelines may make all the difference.
- Think about the process involved in crafting the WHAT and HOW of your change (meta-cognition if you will). When you think about WHAT you want to change in your life, consider why this is important: is this something you want for yourself, others want for you, a good idea that makes sense on paper, etc.
- Be mindful of both sides of the coin: not only what you are moving away from but also what you are moving towards – keep both in mind over time as keys to maintaining motivation. - - Similarly, identify your belief about the change – do you believe it is likely to occur (Carol Dweck’s MINDSET).
- In relation to HOW, reflect upon the circumstances that increase or decrease the likelihood that you will follow through on your change goal and what you can do to best manage these key influencers.
- Ensure that you are tackling one change at a time – attempting to conquer too much too quickly is always a recipe for disaster.
- Replace unhealthy behaviours with the healthy ones (creating alternatives).
- Try making rewards contingent upon your behavior: take away the rewards when you are unsuccessful / receive them when you are. This is not meant as punishment, but rather as withdrawing of rewards.
- Lastly, don’t plan on failing, but don’t be surprised if you “slip.” It may in fact strengthenyour resolve to push forward with your goal … remember that you are human and that you are moving in the right direction. Just make sure that you understand what may have “triggered” this occurrence and what you can do to better manage these triggers the next time.
Jeff Ross, MA RCC
Jeff is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and sees clients in Vancouver (Yaletown Counselling) and North Vancouver, BC, Canada. In addition to couples counselling / marriage counselling, he supports individuals with such issues as depression, anxiety, stress management, relationship issues, grief and bereavement, career and educational issues as well as growth and development.
If you have a comment or question about this post or any other, please feel free to join the discussion or send him a private and confidential email. Let us know what Resonates with you!