Whenever the winter holidays approach, conversation inevitably turns to New Year’s Resolutions. Some take this annual exercise more seriously than others. But taking the time to consider potential resolutions can be a therapeutic opportunity to reflect on 2017 while also effectively planning for the year ahead.
The most common New Year’s resolutions are generally broad goals; committing to a healthier diet, saving money, or getting in better shape. These are all important pursuits! But goals aren’t always the same as resolutions. A resolution is a determined action that provides solutions for problems. A resolution is a commitment to change. And when they work, resolutions are a chance for each of us to grow as people.
There is a reason that making annual resolutions coincides with the new year. Changing your calendar may just be a symbolic metaphor for time passing, but I’d urge you to add this exercise to your therapeutic toolbox. Look back at 2017 like its a calendar. Flip through the pages and let yourself see what you remember the most. Reflect on what felt important while it was happening and consider what still stands out today. Let this newfound perspective of the past year be your guide in planning for the year ahead.
For your 2018 resolutions, my advice is to ask yourself the following five questions:
- What were the experiences from 2017 that made me the happiest?
- What choices from 2017 do I most regret, or would most like to change?
- Why will my resolution make me a happier person?
- Is this a practical resolution?
- How can I hold myself accountable?
Having an answer to that last question, and being able to follow through on the resolutions you make, is ultimately going to be the most important part of this process. Don’t hesitate to continue using your calendar as a tool. Measuring your objectives by marking dates on a calendar can be an invaluable asset. But even if the calendar doesn’t specifically remind you of your resolutions, hopefully turning the pages, each month will be a healthy reminder that time is passing. Don’t let it pass you by. Every day can provide your own personal resolution!
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