Resolution Disillusion? Try This Instead

Happy New Year! Or is it? By mid-January, we know that many people are feeling discouraged about the things they resolved to do or be this year. Negative self-talk is problematic enough without adding disappointment to the mix. So how can you pick yourself up?

Here are three tools I offer clients to turn around this “resolution disillusion”:

1. Dare to be different. Let go of the concept of resolutions that is so ingrained in our culture. If you like the idea of changing something that either no longer serves you or makes you happy, go through your own personal change process. Explore your thoughts and feelings through writing, art journaling, meditation, a support group, or a self-help workbook. Consider deeper work in counseling.

2. Befriend the current reality. For whatever you want to change, examine how this part of you has actually been helpful in your life. We call this an adaptive function, a coping mechanism of sorts. Accept that you just might need it a little longer, or to combine it with some new ways of thinking about and doing things.

© Sandee Nebel

3. Try it one day at a time. By its nature, a New Year’s resolution is something long term that you expect to be working on until you make a new pledge next year. Instead, consider chunking down your change to something you’ll try for just one day, or one hour, or even one minute at a time (perfect if you’re just starting a meditation practice). Now doesn’t that seem more doable?

When you bring compassion to the process of change with strategies like these, it can help you break through the barriers that keep you stuck. But there’s stuck and then there’s stuck. Is there something bigger that’s keeping you from meeting your personal goals? If you’re in the grips of an eating disorder or substance abuse, please consider reaching out to a counselor, and know that I’m here to help.