NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
If you're like many people you've made at least one New Year's Resolution. In many ways, that's the easiest part! The most difficult part is having a realistic plan to attain that goal! In my therapy practice I work with people all of the time on personal goals. The biggest pitfall that I see repeatedly is that the goals are simply unrealistic. Believe it or not many people set themselves up to fail before they even begin! Please keep in mind that almost any goal is attainable if you approach it with realistic ideals and a positive attitude!
In the spirit of achieving success with your New Year's Resolution I have found some advice that I think you will find very helpful!
Expert Advice from the University of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/features/prepare.htm
UM experts offer these tips to help you reach your goals:
- Avoid perfectionist thinking. While we certainly always want to better ourselves, it is healthier to think in positive terms than it is to focus on how much we fall short of our aspirations. In other words, students should view the grade of an A- as better than a B, rather than not as good as an A.
- View setbacks as lessons for growth. Mistakes can be and usually are opportunities for learning. If you fall short of your goals, ask yourself what kept you from achieving them and then try to make corrections. People who like to sail understand this navigational concept. You almost never go directly from point A to point B. You set a course and periodically take readings of your position then make adjustments as you go along.
- Don't make absolute resolutions. Keep them realistic. For example instead of saying you won't yell at your kids anymore, resolve to yell at them less often.
- Don't keep your resolutions to yourself. Tell someone you trust about your resolutions. It helps to share your goals with friends, who can gently nudge you in the right direction when you veer off course.
- Give them some meaning. People sometimes make goals that aren't necessarily meaningful to them. Your goal should be something you really desire to change or achieve, not something that society says is good for you to do, or your family members would like to see you do. If you don't have strong, internal motivation within yourself, you won't be successful.
- Take baby steps. Set realistic goals that are attainable and then take small steps that are likely to be met with success toward those goals. Don't try to lose 10 pounds in a week or quit smoking cold turkey with no preparation. Instead, try joining a weight loss program and try to lose a pound a week, or join a smoking cessation group.
- Fine-tune your spirituality. It is important to add a spiritual dimension to your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to get fit, you may also resolve to get outdoors more often instead of going to the gym. Time outside will help you get in balance with nature, and will honor both the physical and spiritual sides of yourself.
Stay focused and stay positive! Focus on what you have accomplished rather than what you think you haven't accomplished. This is the best way to ensure success! Also, don't forget to reward yourself and praise your successes no matter how insignificant you might view them.
Wishing you much success in all of your endeavors this year!
Jacalyn Kelly, LCSWR
Licensed Clinical Social Worker