What Should Your New Year’s Resolution Be?

Posted by: Center for Growth Therapists

What Should Your New Year’s Resolution Be?

Before you make your standard New Year’s resolution to go to the gym at least three times a week, think about what you truly want in the coming year. For many, the New Year can represent a new beginning. For other’s the New Year can represent a continuation of something that they already enjoy or maybe an addition to what is already. However you view this time of year, think about what you truly want from the year to come before you make that New Year’s Resolution.

First, reflect on the past year.
• How was your year?
• What was your resolution last year and did you keep it?
• What do you want to continue to do in the New Year, what do you want to leave behind?
• Where do you want to make changes to?
• Do you have regrets? If so, why? How can you work to get over them?
• What are you most proud of?
• What are you least proud of?
• What would you do differently, what would you do the same?
• Is there anything you could view differently?
• What were you in control of, where were you lacking control?
• Who in your life added to your year and made it more pleasant?
• Who in your life made it more difficult?
• How was your sleep?
• How was your nutrition?
• How was your sex?
• What were your relationships like (both intimate and nonsexual)?
• Did you want something you didn’t get- a dog, a house, a car, etc?

Next, look at where you want to be.
• What is your 1-year plan, what is your 5- year plan?
• How will you reach your plan?
• Who do you want to continue to have in your life? Who do you want to leave behind?
• What is your next step? New job, new school, new career path, retirement, children, partner?
• How does your age and health relate to your goals? For example, are you 34-years-old and want children but you’re thinking of putting it off for you a few more years due to work? Or, are you 73-years-old and thinking about going for that raise at work that will have you working 20 more hours each week?
• Are your goals realistic?
• Make your goals measureable- how much weight do you want to lose, how much money do you want to save, when do you want to take your vacation, when will you know you’re happy in your social life?
• Who/what are your supports for reaching these goals?
• Do your goals involve someone else? What do they want from these goals?
• Can you improve on something that you already had such as your sex, sleep, and nutrition?
• Is there technology that can help you reach that potential? Look in your App Store, buy a Fitbit, get a VitaMix, etc.

Now, look at what your resolution could be taking into account the answers you just came up with for the questions listed above.
• If you’ve realized that becoming healthier and losing weight is top on your priorities then maybe that gym resolution wasn’t so far off. Can you add to it? How about doing three 5k’s or some type of organized race this year? Or maybe you’ll do a Crossfit challenge?
• Did you decide that cleansing your friend list is worth your while? How do you want to go about doing that? Do you want to make more friends? What about joining in on some adventures, Philadelphia has great LivingSocial/Groupon/Amazon/Travelzoo/Meet Up/etc. activities to join and meet great people.
• Along with the above bullet, maybe you decided you wanted to cut back on unhealthy activities such as drinking and staying out late. Choose an activity to do in place of the bar scene. Or, join a club. Again, Philadelphia has great hobby oriented clubs such as Poker, car, wood work, etc clubs.
• Maybe you want to save money because your five year plan includes moving or having a child or taking that dream vacation. Can you start a hobby out of saving money? What if you learn to cook so you eat more meals at home rather than going out to eat? Or, you could learn to do DIY projects instead of buying the latest trending item at a high end boutique?
• If you’ve found that you are stopping yourself from reaching great heights, is therapy in your future? Do you need help figuring out some barriers to reaching your goals? Therapy is a great option to reaching your goals however small or large they may be.

Whatever it is you want to achieve for the next year, try to properly think about specifics to what you want. Try not to say “I’m going to go to the gym three times a week” then have other expectations on top of that that you didn’t say out loud to yourself. For example, you’re going to go to the gym three times a week but really you want to lose 20 pounds. Losing weight should take into consideration your diet plan, as well as your exercise plan. Most New Year’s resolutions are more than just one part, they contain multiple parts that often times people do not think of and therefore fail at them. Also, keep your goals measureable so you can see progress and stay motivated. On goals that are harder to measure, rate them on a scale of 1-10. Write your number down and reevaluate in 6 months has it increased/decreased to the number you were looking to reach?  To reach your resolution goals easier and better, try to think of the greater picture with all of its pieces. Then, break the goal down into measureable, obtainable steps. Last, don’t forget to reward yourself and acknowledge that you reached your goals! Reinforcement is key in continuing to maintain your goals that you reached.