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Another New Year’s resolution article

Happy New Year! Would it be New Year’s, at least to a therapist, without talking about making New Year’s resolutions? Well, it might be, but I’ll write about it anyway.

We all know that making New Year’s resolutions is often an exercise in futility. We look back on the past year, feel badly about what we haven’t accomplished, and resolve to do better in the future. We set some goals, feel very good and gung ho about them, and 4 weeks later — poof! they’re long forgotten. Year after year we do this, and make ourselves feel worse in the process. Wouldn’t it be great to do it differently this year?

What I suggest is that we take the focus off the goal, away from the result, and instead focus on the process. For instance, suppose that I want to get in shape this year. So I may say that my goal is to lose 10 pounds. That’s the result I would like. But what is the process? How will I get there? Maybe for me that means I’ll stop eating junk food and walk an extra 30 minutes a day. That’s the process, and that’s what I need to focus on. I can’t make myself lose 10 pounds today, but I can eat healthy food today, and I can walk that 30 minutes today.

So how’s this for a resolution? Resolve to think about goals in terms of the process needed to reach them, and see if you can start some new habits that reinforce those processes. More on this in a later post, so please stay tuned!

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