6 Ways to Make Your Resolutions Stick
Beth Janczak, LCSW
Every year, my husband and I sit down and write our new year’s resolutions. We write some that are family goals, a few that are personal goals, and some that are work related. The problem is, many times (ok almost all the time,) once we write them, we forget to actually follow through or decide they are too big, become overwhelmed and give up.
I love writing goals and dreaming about all the things I will accomplish during the new year. The thought of a new year feels refreshing and like a chance to start over. Where I struggle is putting thought into action. This year, I’m deciding to follow a new plan in writing (and completing) my resolutions, and I hope my strategy is helpful to you as well!
It’s easy to create vague large goals for the new year, but in reality, it’s best to pick one small specific goal. Instead of, “I will be more present and less anxious in 2018” set a goal of, “I will sign off of social media by 8pm.” Setting a specific, realistic goal helps you remain motivated, focused and excited.
Keep Your Goals Positive!
Avoid words like “don’t” or “can’t.” It’s much easier to stick to a goal with words that are
positive such as “will” or “can”. Being kind to yourself is half the battle.
Break Goals Down
Even when goals are specific and realistic, it’s easier to keep going when we break
a goal down into a mini goal. If your goal is to become more present and less anxious,
it’s helpful to determine how this will look on a daily basis, and what little steps you can take to reach the overall goal.
Reward Yourself for Your Progress
Positive rewards help keep us on track! Reward yourself when you meet one of your goals or even one of your mini-goals. Rewards help make goals attainable.
Give Yourself Grace
A bad day, or a missed step on a goal, doesn’t mean all is lost. It is simply a chance to start again. Progress is rarely a straight path. Be kind, and allow yourself to start again. Doing so will help you stay on track!
Enlist the Help of Others
Goal setting can help you feel motivated, fulfilled and future-focused. Counseling can be a great place to help you stay on track and feel well! Our staff at Lakeview Counseling wishes you nothing but the best, and is here to help you reach your goals to become your best self in 2018!
The Art of Slowing Down
That is approximately the number of rocks I threw into a lake this past summer.
Every day, my son would wake up, ask for his swimsuit, and march himself out to the dock to toss rocks from a bucket. Seeing as my son is only 3 years old, he needed supervision for this very important task. And so, because of his love of throwing rocks, and his lack of fear of water, I would accompany him to the dock. And sit. And watch. At first, it was painful and sometimes it was (dare I say,) boring even. But as I sat there and watched my son throw rock after rock, I decided to join in and see what he could possibly love about it. His face lit up the first time I threw a rock in, and his joy brought me joy. I felt calm. I felt in the moment, and I felt connected to my 3 year old.
Turns out, it was also an accidental experiment in slowing down, and being fully in the moment, completing one activity at a time. I didn’t bring my phone down for fear of it falling the water, and it wasn’t a safe place for me to read or do anything else that would prevent me from fully supervising my son. And so, once I started to let go of the thoughts of “there are a million other things I need (want) to be doing right now,” it was actually, surprisingly, nice. And I found myself leaving the dock feeling refocused and more productive throughout my day. Which got me thinking, if I feel this good after just throwing rocks, ready to conquer my day...does multitasking really make me more productive?
The short answer is no. Several studies and articles, including this one from Health Magazine, discuss the dangers to your health, your relationships, and ability to complete work accurately while multitasking. In fact, studies have shown that multitasking, no matter how good we think we are at it, causes us to complete tasks at a slower rate, creates friction in our relationships, allows us to make more mistakes when working, and may also lead to overeating and higher levels of overall stress. So then, why do we do it, buy into it, and support it like it’s an amazing way of living, when it simply isn’t? So rarely any more are we allowed to be totally present in the moment. In fact, we are a society that touts our ability to multi-task and be ever connected. and This is especially true for women. We are supposed to do it all, take care of it all, and look great doing it. To not do it, to slow down, say no, or ask for help are things that aren’t nearly as celebrated. This notion, that we can and should do it all, can lead to higher levels of anxiety, depression, and burn-out. I find myself meeting with clients who will say to me, I can’t do it all anymore, or I just want to take a pause so I can catch my breath.
So what’s the answer? Take a look at your day, your commitments, the things you feel you “should do,” take a deep breath, and choose one that you can say no to. Whether it’s signing off of social media at a set time for the night, turning down one more committee or volunteer experience, or deciding to work on one thing at a time at work, will create a small space to breathe, connect and feel fully present in whatever moment you are in. I can tell you from personal experience, once you start to slow down, you just might find your life is fuller and more productive in the end.