Set and Keep a New Year’s Resolution

Kalynn Potter, LLPC, MBA

Here we are again. Closing out one year and entering into a brand-new year. How many times have we done this and set expectations for ourselves, only to let ourselves down? Is it a lack of commitment? Are we too hard on ourselves and with one slip give up? Or are we overwhelmed by the thought of trying to make a significant change?

I believe that setting a new year’s resolution can be fun! Let’s look at it as implementing a change in our lives that is going to give us greater happiness. Accept the fact that it is going to be a challenge. But really how big of a challenge will it be to do something we want to do? And we must believe we are going to succeed. We cannot set ourselves up for failure by thinking negatively.

Approach it with enthusiasm. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

The first thing to do is to write it down. Just writing down a goal increases our chance of achieving it. The success rate increases further if we share our progress with someone.

Let’s set a goal using the SMART approach. The letters are an acronym. The S stands for Specific. The goal should be as specific as possible. Not just that we want good grades but that we want an average of 85 or higher in math. The M is for measurable. Measuring provides feedback. Instead of, “eat less in the evening”, put “the evening snack will be of protein and carb and under 200 calories”.

The A is for attainable. We do not want to set a goal that is unattainable. We want it to challenge us and we want to be able to achieve it. The R is for realistic. Make sure the timeframe set makes it possible for the goal to be achieved. And lastly, the T is for timely. Is there a timeframe listed? This helps us to be accountable and provides motivation. We’ve set the goal in the SMART form which provides a path to our success.

Start each day with your new year’s goal (resolution) in mind. It is important to provide positive feedback to yourself and possibly from a supportive friend as progress is made. And it is equally important not to get down on yourself if you slip up. Don’t give up! The next day is a chance to start again.

Making a change in life takes time. The actual length of time it takes to form a habit is debatable. It has been said to range from 21 to 66 days. It is important to be the most diligent in the beginning. So be patient with yourself and view it as a process.

If you have a goal that you want to achieve and believe you could use support, we at Rochester Area Counseling can provide support and guidance. If it is a goal you have attempted and failed maybe there is something blocking your success. Whatever the situation, we wish you the fortitude and insight to set a goal based on your values and to achieve and sustain it. Life changes are important for everyone. As they say, without change there would be no butterflies.

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