Making Resolutions a Year-Round Activity

Shmuel Fischler, LCSW-C · January 20, 2020

Every year, millions of Americans set new year’s resolutions in the hopes that this will be the year they finally reach their goals, make new friends, complete a pottery class or read 100 books. However, studies show us that most of those resolutions are abandoned by January 12th. What is it about goal setting and resolutions that make it so tough to accomplish them? As with many things, the secret lies in mindset.

A Checklist or Engaging in Your Values

One of the first places many people start when setting goals is making a long checklist of everything that they want to accomplish. This makes things black and white. After all, you’ve either finished the vase you wanted to make in pottery class or you haven’t. You either read 100 books, or you fell short and only read one a week. However, is that the most productive and encouraging way to reach your goals? When we establish things in such stark terms, it’s easy to get discouraged and disappointed when we fall short.

Instead, engaging in your values can give you the encouragement and motivation you need to keep going. Imagine that one of your new year’s resolutions was to paint the fence outside of your home. Using that mindset, there is only one way to reach the goal (painting the fence) and one reason you are doing it (because you need to). Try switching your perspective and focusing on why you want to paint the fence in the first place. Do you want to improve the value of your home? Have you always wanted a cool mural to enjoy while you have summer parties on the deck? Attaching meaning and your personal values to your goals changes everything. It also reframes your perspective so that you are constantly accomplishing your goals! When you are engaged in the process, there is no true beginning, middle or end. Instead, you are consistently working towards your greater purpose and fulfilling your values.

Engaging in Your New Year’s Resolutions

What could engaging in your new year’s resolutions look like? Let’s use the examples we gave earlier:

  • Making New Friends: Focus on why you want to make new friends. Do you want to expand your network? Find someone else who shares your love of a certain television show? Think about the value of making new friends for your life.
  • Completing a Pottery Class: Think about what completing a pottery class will add to your life. Will you get a boost of confidence from completing something you can use every day? Did you enjoy art class in high school and let it fall to the wayside after entering college?
  • Reading 100 Books: How can reading 100 books change your life? Whether it’s gaining invaluable knowledge that can help your career or discovering new worlds while you take your mind off of work, think of this goal in terms of how it will change your life.

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