PTSD Therapist

Learn How to Make the Most of Your New Year’s Resolution!

2016 is here…and so is our regular work schedule. Tis the season to either be hungover, celebrating the past year, mourning the past year, making a New Year’s Resolution list, hitting the gym, or all of the above. It’s a complex time that often involves reflection and resolution. We reflect on what has happened and make a resolution on what to change. Let’s be real though, resolutions rarely have lasting impacts. As much as pop culture magazines try to inundate us with images showing how great change looks, especially with weight, it’s not easy.

Why don’t things work much of the time? To answer that question, we first have to look at why you want the resolution that you want. One of the most common resolutions is probably weight. You probably have picked out the first diet you’re going to try. Paleo? Atkins? You probably have committed to some gym. 24 Hour Fitness? LA Fitness? Gold’s Gym? YMCA? You may have even had your first gym session of the year. And you may even think that you’re going to have this endless supply of motivation. Well, I’m here to tell you that your drive is going to taper. The adrenaline is going to wane and you’re going to be left with your primary intention of your resolution.

Was your intention to feel better, eat healthier and live a more balanced life or were you fixated on getting rid of some holiday weight? The problem with the latter is that your adrenaline is going to run out faster than the weight will shed. You have to think about why you want what you want. There will be times during your resolution or in your life where you grow tired, where you are having a hard day, and knowing that you have a bigger goal in mind is what will drive you forward. Your values, goals and dreams will pull you forward.

For me, being in grad school can be stressful, as expected. And there are times where I think about why I can’t just sit at home and relax. However, at the end of the day, I know that there is nothing else I would rather do in the long run. I may not want to write that paper right now, but I want that degree. I may not want to grade my student’s homework, but I want my students to learn. I want something that supersedes my current circumstances and I know that sometimes I have to do things that I don’t necessarily want to do to get to be who I want to be. 

There is no vision for yourself that you can have that isn’t going to involve the two Ps: Pain and Pushback. It will happen. However, what you need is the third P…Persistence. The trick is knowing and accepting the pain and pushback as opposed to fighting it. While others stop working out after 2 weeks, you’ll still be going because you know that the muscle soreness and the urge to sit at home is not going to hold you back from getting to your goal weight. You already know that there is going to be resistance. That resistance is natural. That resistance is telling you that change is happening. That resistance is asking you to rise up. That resistance is telling you that you’re growing. Your muscles needs to break down in order to repair itself to grow stronger. So go after it and meet the resistance.

The truth is that you don’t need a date to commit to change. It’s troublesome to me when someone says in November, “Starting January 1st, I’m going to start exercising” or some other form of change. In reality, what’s the difference between January 1st and the next day? The truth is that whether it’s June, September, November or January, you will still be faced with a daily choice of who do you want to be and what change do you want in your life? No specific day or time will bring about that change. It is a daily choice and a willingness to make another choice, a willingness to see things differently, a willingness to get your butt up and go to the gym, a willingness to look for a new job, a willingness to say that what is present in my life is not what I want and I choose to make another choice.article continues after advertisement

Now don’t just tell me your resolution, but tell me your goals. Tell me the steps you plan on taking to get there. Tell me how you’re going to fight through the hurdles. To help you get started, here’s a couple quick steps:

  1. Pick what you hope to change (i.e. lose weight; pursue a passion)
  2. Break it down into a specific goal (i.e. lose 50 pounds; get a job that is actually what I want to do)
  3. Break it down even more specifically (i.e. lose 1 pound a week; get a job in some specific area that is consistent with your passion)
  4. Write down 3 things you could do during the week that would get you closer to that goal (i.e. exercise 3x/week, eat 3 veggies a day, don’t eat 3 hours before bedtime; write a list of things that excites you regardless of pay, talk to someone in an area you’re interested in, send out X number of resumes a week)
  5. Persist at it. If nothing else, stay consistent! Rain or shine, good day or bad day – consistency will breed success in whatever area you’re hoping for.

As I was told in grad school, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, so work hard and reap the rewards. So get specific about your goals and be consistent and reaching them.

 I’ll leave you with several quotes from my new favorite book by Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect,

“The highest achievers in the world have all succeeded because they mapped out their visions.”

“Top people have very clear goals. They know who they are and know what they want.”

“When you define your goals, you give your brain something new to look for and focus on.”


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