The New “New Year’s Resolution”
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
By: Nicole Bentley, LCSW
The New Year is a wonderful time for reflection, and setting goals for the year to come can be a wonderful experience. Often, however, New Year’s Resolutions can become toxic rather than uplifting. Here are four alternative strategies to focus on as you reflect on 2017, and prepare for 2018.
1. Acknowledge what you are doing well.
The New Year is a wonderful time to reflect on the year you just had, and where you are in this moment. What do you love about yourself? What are you doing well? What are you proud of yourself for? This reflective activity is a great way to start off the New Year, and will set the stage for any changes you want to make in 2018.
2. What do you want to continue to build upon?
Now that you have reflected on what you are doing well, take it a step further and consider the progress you have made this year. What have you accomplished, and how can you keep working on it? Have you made any positive changes to your life that you would like to continue or expand on? This is a more gentle strategy for goal setting while you prepare to enter into the New Year.
3. "And” is your new best friend
Start incorporating the word “and” into your goals for the New Year. This simple word can help create a more well-rounded and self-compassionate goal. For example, “I acknowledge my need for relaxation time AND I would like to work towards being more productive in the evenings after work,” or “I love my brothers very much AND I hope we can become closer this year.” By incorporating the word “and” into your goals, you are acknowledging the great parts of your life, while simultaneously striving towards change.
4. Remember balance and flexibility
Goals can be empowering and healthy if they are created with self-compassion and kindness in mind. Remember to be flexible with your goals, and to include balance as you make them. Instead of saying “This year I am going to cook dinner for myself every day, wake up early and stop smoking”, consider either focusing on one main goal, or being more flexible with all three. That might look like this: “This year I would like to try a few new recipes for dinner, work towards waking up a half an hour earlier on the weekdays, and buy Nicorette gum to help me stop smoking”. By incorporating some more specific and balanced language, these goals have suddenly become more attainable.
By keeping these suggestions in mind, you can set yourself up for a wonderful ending to 2017, and a graceful entrance into 2018.