Can you feel it? It’s that strange period between Christmas and New Year’s where you’re still in the afterglow of the holiday, but already are gearing up for the next celebration to come. It’s usually a time when you’re finishing off what’s left of the Christmas feast, figuring out what to do with the gifts you received, solidifying your New Year’s Eve plans, and perhaps even thinking about what your resolution will be this year. The standard go-to resolution, of course, is to lose weight, exercise more or some combination of those ideas. Others may resolve to put a bad habit to rest in the New Year. But whatever you resolve to do in 2016, there are some things to consider beforehand, one of which is making sure you’re in the right frame of mind when making your resolution. This can help you avoid breaking it before February rolls around.
Cheryl Land, assistant director of the Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook, says, by its very definition, a resolution is complicated. “I decided to remind myself what the definition of resolution was,” she said. “The word resolution has several definitions, but the one I found most interesting was ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something.’ One place to begin when making a resolution is to start by asking ourselves what do we really want for ourselves, and then begin to reflect. Is this what we genuinely want, or is it something someone else wants for us? Is it something we want to do, or is it something we want to resolve not to do? Is it a major life decision, or something less daunting but nonetheless important to us? Once we reflect on our options, are we ready to make a firm decision to commit to the process? If not, why not? What is keeping us from taking the step toward a change?” she said.
“We could start by thinking about what successes we have had in the past, and what we can learn from our failures,” she continued. “Build on those successes and failures. Often we know what it is we want, but we don’t follow through. Even if we didn’t follow through completely, does that mean we didn’t grow, learn and make progress? Perhaps this year, moment by moment, breath by breath, we will accomplish our firm resolve – whatever we choose to do or not do,” she said. “The important thing to remember is that our journey isn’t over, it is ongoing. If we then decide that we are ready to make a New Year’s Resolution in 2016, perhaps the next step is to refresh our memories about goal setting,” she added.
Land says the first step in goal setting is getting it on paper. “You want to begin by making a specific goal statement and writing it down,” she said. “One note about this, however, only set one goal at a time, as you don’t want to try to tackle too many things at once. Next, break your goal down into a workable time frame. This will allow you to celebrate your successes as you go along. Remember to be kind to yourself when you have setbacks, and continue working your plan. We’re only human,” she explained. “Remember that change is a process not just an outcome. Tnomas a Kempis, a Flemish monk of the 15th century reminds us ‘Lose not, brother (or sister), thy confidence of making (spiritual) progress; thou hast yet time – the hour is not yet passed,’” she added.
“Just keep in mind that the idea to make a resolution is the easy part,” Land said. “The harder part is to make the firm decision, which takes planning and discipline. Whatever you firmly decide to do or not do this year, whether it be to begin exercising, quit smoking, start volunteering, refrain from judging or to love greatly, with faith, hope, love, discipline and planning, you can achieve your resolution,” she added.