New Year's Resolutions That Stick

Dear Dr. B,

It’s 2017 but I’m still stuck in 2016. I had a crappy holiday, realizing how off track my life is these days. I always feel like I’m coming up short wherever I turn and I just don’t know what to do to make 2017 any different. Work, home, health…you name it and it’s a mess. I’m heading into the New Year making resolutions that I’m confident will never stick.

Can you help?

~ Stuck

Dear Stuck,

 

You’re not alone. If I had a nickel for every time someone presented this problem, I’d make Warren Buffet look poor. The answer is buried in the problem itself: You are where you are based on a series of decisions you’ve made, responses you’ve had, and perceptions you’ve held about yourself and the world.

So, how do you fix where you are? Decisions. A series of decisions that head you in another direction. That’s how pivots happen and pivots, by definition, change everything. You know better than anyone what decisions have led you to this moment in time, so you know best which ones might need to be revisited. For the purposes of this quick and dirty response, I’m going to keep it simple with a quick list of things to DO and things NOT to DO as you make shifts in 2017.  

DO:

State your commitments in terms of “more” versus “less.” More of things vs. less of things (focus on action, not resisting action). More fruits vs. fewer sweets. More proactive vs. less lazy.

Define yourself as you’d like to be. Things like: I am flexible. I am patient. I am kind. I am fit.

Instead of trying to tackle 2017 all at once, target Q1. A year is a long time, so stay on track today, day after day.   

Be accountable – to yourself and others. Tell people what you plan to do. Write down your new commitments and post them where you can see them every day.

DO NOT:

Expect perfection. You’re human, you’re going to make mistakes, come up short. Being harsh with yourself won’t increase the likelihood of your success.

Expect immediate results. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t change your life that fast either. One step, one day, at a time.

Forget to reward yourself for every little bit of progress. When you make a positive decision, seeing yourself doing something that looks like a pivot, congratulate yourself with a hearty, “Go, YOU!” Celebrate your progress, remembering that hard work really does pay off. And living a life you’re joyous about it worth it.

If you need an accountability partner, or if you want to dig into the decisions you’ve made and are continuing to make, reach out. I’d be happy to support you as you create the 2017 that awaits you.

 

Peace,

Dr. B