This is Part 2 in a two-part series about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions. You can read Part 1, “I Resolve Again, and Again” here.
- Be honest with yourself. What change do you seek and why is it necessary at this time? What character strengths and weaknesses will help or hurt your chances for success? If you have tried to make this change in the past, why didn’t it work before? What can you do differently this time?
- Look deeper. What is really driving your habits? Is there an old story that needs telling? Are you angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, lonely? Use a journal to record your feelings of loss and joy as you slowly let go of old habits and make way for the new.
Did you find yourself staring into the mirror on January 1st and once again proclaiming: “This year will be different!”?
The beginning of a new year is a popular time to wipe the slate clean and think about starting fresh. With fierce determination and sincerity of heart we assure ourselves that we really do mean it this time. We really mean to become healthier; more fiscally responsible; treat ourselves or our partners more kindly. Or, perhaps we vow to improve ourselves by starting therapy, taking a class, or going back to school to complete that degree.
But no matter how great our resolve, most of us unconsciously set ourselves up for failure because we expect our initial enthusiasm to carry us the entire length of the journey. By misunderstanding the true nature of change, we are not prepared to respond constructively when our old habits and tendencies rise up in protest to oppose the new order. Even when our desire to change is entirely self-generated, we must contend with our fears of the unknown as well as the sacrifices and discomforts inherent in giving up familiar ways of being. More …