Resolutions or not

A long time ago I decided that resolutions were ridiculous. They are a way to help you look ahead and feel good about yourself and your future, for a minute. Today, the first Monday after New Years, has been deemed “Blue Monday,” the most depressing day of the year. Is it the blustery, cold and dark weather, the loss of the holiday excitement, return to work after vacation, or disappointment in your resolution failure?

Resolution means “to resolve, a strict determination toward action!”  That sounds pretty great.  I WILL _____.  You have every intention and purpose to do what ever it is you resolve to do.

Why is this ridiculous? It usually doesn’t work. Once a year people sit down to make a list of things they would like to change about themselves without addressing how to make that change.

  1. A special day is not necessary to make a change
  2. Focus on the negative repels change
  3. There is no way to measure the outcome
  4. There is no method for change

Resolutions should be the beginning of your goal setting. Goals can be made at any time, for any reason, they are measurable with steps, actually achievable and relevant to you.  You can stick to, alter, and adjust goals. Goals should work for you, not against you.

Once you set a goal, you outline your steps to attain that goals (what does it look like). For example, you want to be in better shape (resolution). Your goal might be to start with walking twice a week. Move up to 3 times a week plus 2 days of weight lifting. Perhaps you want a goal to run a 10K. You find a program for training (or a trainer). You set your goals for each step of that training. You figure out how that is going to fit in your schedule.

Sometimes goals require research, time and outside help. Like I mentioned above, you may need a trainer to get in shape, a dietician to help you with a diet. Professionals are out there for a lot of different areas. Look at your community education classes too. You will always need support from family and friends.

Look at your resolutions again. Are they relevant to you? Do you really want to do these things? How will you accomplish them? Create steps to attain the goals and celebrate your accomplishments.

Visualize your Goal

I have heard in many different ways and in many different forms that you must know where you are going in order to get there. Huh? You must visualize the end result to accomplish your goal. 

For example, my neighbor is 22. He was going to college, but dropped out to work because he had no clue what he wanted to do. He can easily get stuck in his current job, working at a tire store, for a very long time, trying to figure out what he wants to do or just sustaining life (barely). He can also take some action. He needs to look at a “map,” talk with an academic advisor or take some career tests. He won’t get where he wants to go unless he knows where he is going.

I know a lot of people who want to lose weight. I recently saw a new “program” for weight loss that included “brain training.”  The idea was that we do better with goals if we can visualize what we would look like at the end. I like the idea of visualizing your end result. Buying a program for it, not so much. If you want to get fit and healthy, what does that look like? Are you thin, tone, a certain size, lower blood pressure, healthy eat habits? There are so many ways to look at it! Any way you do it, you have know what the end result looks like or you will never get there.

With my clients I ask what they would like to accomplish in therapy. The answer is often the absence of something negative, like depression, anxiety, troubled past or relationship. Very few people have a good understanding of what they would like their happier alternative life to be. I often ask “what would that look like?” What is your end game? When it is said and done, what would your life, as a movie, look like? If you don’t know, you will never get there.

TRY THIS

CREATING YOUR VISUALIZATION

Do you have a goal in your life? Anything, lose weight, clean out the closet, finish school, eat healthier, learn gardening.

You can start with an easy one. Let’s choose organizing a space (ok, easy for some).

  1. GOAL: Organize desk (yep, that is what I am looking at)
  2. What do I want: Clean, less cluttered, easy to find things, more work space
  3. What does that look like: Organized files, colorful folders, shelves…    create a mental picture here. You can research spaces you are interested in for inspiration.

Research is your friend. Once you choose your goal, you will need to create a map. That map will show you how to get to that goal. Often times you will need some professional help to get there, like school, books, nutritionist or doctor. When you can see what that end result looks like, you can put one foot in front of the other to get there. Remember the Reward and keep the visualization in your mind (or pinned to your bathroom mirror).