How often have New Year’s resolutions worked for you? It should be easy, shouldn’t it, to think of things you want to change and then to make them happen? If only! Sadly, old habits really do die hard. And building new ones takes more than just good intentions. The good news, though, is that it really is possible to change things you want in your life! Try using this five-step plan to get you on your way to resolution success this year…
1. Identify what you really want
Surprisingly, it might not be obvious at first which particular thing you’d get most benefit from changing in your life. To get the right New Year’s resolution for you, take time to think things through. You can use a sheet of paper to write down each and every thing that could improve your life, no matter how large or small. Remember that resolutions are more likely to succeed when they’re phrased positively: ‘I want to be more patient’, rather than ‘I’d like to be less shouty’.
2. Choose the change that brings you the most
By focusing on just one resolution, you’re most likely to make it happen. So take care to choose the one that brings you maximum rewards. For each change you’ve considered making, list as many benefits as you can that would come from putting it into practice. Remember that there may be extra benefit that comes when your resolution positively affects people around you. For example, once you’ve made more time for yourself you’re likely to be happier at home, leading to happier relationships with people there.
3. Create your New Year’s resolution team
Establishing new habits takes motivation and persistence. Get others involved in your resolution team and you can boost both, significantly increasing your chances of success. Who can help you make this resolution happen? Who might go running with you? Who might look after the kids so you can do something you want? Who do you want to check in on your progress and remind you of your goal? Let people who care about you know what they can do to help you succeed. Use visual reminders in your house to help you, and others, remember the importance of this resolution in your life.
4. Plan the New Year Resolution project
When it comes to establishing new habits, a little planning goes a long way. Take time to identify the practical things that need to be done to make your resolution happen. Plan the timetable for this. When will you carry out particular steps and in what order? How will changes affect your usual routine and what needs to be done to fill in any gaps? What time frame do you have for the change you want to make? Most importantly of all, what are the small, achievable steps you’ll be making to get your resolution started? The death of many New Year’s resolutions is trying to do too much too soon. Be realistic and kind to yourself. Aim for small changes to start off with so you can build motivation from the small gains you make and build on these over time.
5. Find the successful you!
Very often, we doubt our own ability to deliver on resolutions that we have. So take time to identify what it is about you that allows you to make the change you want. On another sheet of paper, write down achievements you’ve made already in different areas of your life. What was the benefit of these and what personal skills and strengths did you use to make them happen? Some achievements may have been hard to get, making them even more significant. What are you proudest to have done in the past and what does it say about you that you did it? Think of the one thing you know about yourself that makes you most confident you will achieve your resolution this year.
Making change that matters, and lasts, isn’t always easy. And some types of change in particular. For example, changes that let you break free from stress, anxiety, low mood, and depression, or deal with conflict and difficulty in relationships you have. Happily, even here there are ways to increase your power to change things so you can live more happily in the future. So if you’d like to improve something that really matters to you this year and would benefit from the support you need to make it happen, simply get in touch.
Solution Focused Counsellor