Counseling corner: Time to salvage those New Year’s resolutions

Counseling Corner
Graphic by Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner

 

American Counseling Association

 

No, those New Year’s resolutions you made weren’t a bad idea.  The fact that you haven’t been successful in reaching those goals may seem a problem, but the reality is that it’s also a very fixable problem.

The middle of January is about when most people give up on those resolutions that, back on Jan. 1, they swore they were going to succeed at this year.  So what went wrong? In most cases, a variety of things.

The most common is that we often promise ourselves too much. We want to lose 20 pounds, or stop smoking, or get that job promotion. And we want it to happen fast. But in most cases, fast isn’t really possible. Weight loss, real weight loss, is a slow process. Experts report that stopping smoking can sometimes take as many as eight attempts before someone is successful. And working hard, impressing the boss, and getting that work promotion? Yeah, that might happen over months or years, but not by next week.

So how to approach change, reduce the stress and avoid the negative feelings that not achieving a New Year’s resolution can sometimes bring? Start by accepting that you haven’t failed, but just that you need to approach the accomplishments you desire from a slightly different direction.

A better attitude for life changes is not by starting out believing you need to fix a negative (something that is wrong with you), but instead focus on your goals as “positive” steps forward to a better and happier you.

Secondly, develop a plan that will move you in the direction of your goal in small, easy to achieve steps.  Your final objective may be to stop smoking, but it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Maybe it means one or two fewer cigarettes every day to the point where finally stopping is a much easier thing to do.

Losing weight doesn’t have to mean setting a goal and then blaming yourself when you don’t reach it. Instead, focus on the process of making small changes toward healthier eating and congratulating yourself as you take positive steps in the desired direction.

Don’t blame yourself that you haven’t achieved those New Year’s resolution goals. And don’t give up on working toward positive achievements. Keep on trying, but do it in small, positive steps, and you’ll find you’ll eventually get to the positive results you desire.

 

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Comments and questions can be sent to acacorner@counseling.org or visit http://www.counseling.org.

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