New Year’s Resolutions? Or Not?

Often we look at the new year as a chance to “start over,” to set new goals and make new resolutions. Perhaps we resolve to lose weight, exercise more, spend more time with family, get organized, or . . . you name it!

Here’s the rub, though: no matter how good our intentions, most of us don’t follow through with these resolutions for more than a short time, sometimes only days!

When this happens, setting new resolutions can feel pointless, or worse, self-defeating.

As Dr. Noa Kageyama, author of the “bulletproofmusician” blog said, “Eventually, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. There didn’t seem to be much point; I’d just end up feeling guilty about everything I wasn’t doing.”
I’d like to offer an alternative approach to facing the new year. It isn’t as dramatic as vowing to lose 10 pounds, finally clean out the downstairs closet, or scale your personal Mt. Everest. Instead, it starts with taking some time to reflect back over the past year.
Find some quiet time, maybe on a walk, or maybe sitting with a cup of tea and 
1) Consider the following questions:  

  •  What did I really enjoy in the past year? What made me smile? Feel satisfied? (Take some time to sink into and savor these feelings!)
  • What did I make some progress on? (Think progress, not perfection! Baby steps are fine.)
  • What steps and strategies did I take to bring this enjoyment into my life? This progress? (Be concrete here.)
2) In a slightly different vein:
  •  Looking back over the year, what strengths can I see in myself when I look back through what I faced this past year? (Both strengths I commonly rely on and perhaps some emerging strengths.)
  • What values of mine did I honor?
     (These are questions most of us don’t often think about, so if you need some help, you can look at lists of strengths and values to prompt your thinking.)
3) To move forward into the new year, ask yourself: 
  • How can I gradually build on what I have put in place over the past year?
  • What steps and strategies worked for me, and how can I use those approaches moving forward?
  • How can I draw on my strengths as I move into the new year?
  • What will it mean to honor my values in the coming year?
4) Avoid big new jumping off the cliff resolutions this new year.

Consider, instead, how you can gradually build a path forward from where you are now, using your personal strengths, and the skills and strategies that work for you, and continuing to honor your values in the coming year.

5) Then, ask yourself:
  • What teeny, tiny baby step can I take, today, to move forward? (Make a list, make a phone call, something small.)
  • What other step can I plan for this week? (And when can I schedule it?) 
  •  What are the several small steps I can put in place this month (and when?) to continue moving forward?
Building on your successes, using your strengths, and honoring your values, you can move forward one small step at a time into a fun and fulfilling new year. 

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photo credit: © Grafphotogpaher | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Posted in ADHD, goals, strengths

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