Resolving to Succeed in 2017

Welcome to the Roundtable Counseling blog!  Many of us will take some time at the beginning of 2017 to reminisce about last year and what we didn’t accomplish.  It is normal for us to want to do something better or different than we did the year before.  So, we look for what we think might be the easiest way to make changes—we make resolutions.  I’m not a fan of resolutions because I believe it sets us up to fail, not succeed.  Let’s look at why it might be better to use smaller, short-term goals instead of making year-long resolutions.

The definition of “resolution” is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”.  This sounds more like setting a goal for yourself, which is not an entirely bad idea.  However, most tend to set goals that are either unattainable or too far into the future to be able to succeed at completing them.  So, here are my tips for setting “goals” for next year:

1.     Set monthly, weekly, daily goals (this is more attainable and you will be able to track your progress more easily).

2.     If your monthly goal is to look for a new job, lose weight, leave a dysfunctional relationship, etc., ask yourself what you need to be doing daily to work towards the goal.  Goals are completed in small steps, not large, leaping ones.

3.     Don’t “what if” the future.  It only causes anxiety.

4.     Live in the present, don’t worry about tomorrow.

As an example, one year I wanted to quit drinking soda.  Pepsi was my “drug of choice”.  So, I tried just going off soda all together and it didn’t work.  I then made weekly goals to drink fewer sodas and decided to drink iced tea instead at times.  That way I gave up the sugar but not the caffeine.  After a few weeks I was able to fully switch to iced tea as my regular drink.  Since that time I have been able to switch to water and herbal tea, but it was a process.  I’m reminded of that by one of our clients, who framed that phrase for our office because she heard it so much in groups here.  So remember, “it’s a process”, it’s not all or nothing and it doesn’t happen overnight.  It WILL happen if you take it one day at a time and make short-term, reasonable expectations for yourself.  Good luck in reaching your goals for 2017!

Carolyn Hall, MFT

Carolyn Hall, Marriage and Family Therapist and founder and president of Roundtable Counseling, Inc., has worked with teens for over twenty years in the following settings: inpatient psychiatric hospital, residential treatment centers, an outpatient treatment program and in a private practice setting. She is a well-respected therapist in the community and has been in private practice in Camarillo since 2000.