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New Year’s Resolutions: Do I need them?

It’s that time of year again. Perhaps you’re someone who takes the time to analyze your past year. It’s actually a great strategy for realizing what you want to repeat or not repeat in the new year. I started implementing it myself and have found it super helpful. What about those New Year’s resolutions you start hearing about around this time? Do you set any? Do you need to?

Here Comes the Eye Roll

The first thing I think of when someone mentions the word “resolution” is that meme with Robert Downey Jr. doing a major eye roll that says something to the effect of “new year, new you.” I don’t know about you, but the word “resolution” has a negative ring to it for me. All of a sudden, there’s this pressure to have a solid plan in place for your life by January 1st. Wait, what?

Why I’m Not a Fan of Resolutions

  1. As mentioned above, the word “resolution” has a negative tone.
  2. It’s almost expected that people will break their resolutions.
  3. Resolutions are only talked about at the start of the new year.
  4. Resolution is defined as “a decision or determination” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/resolution). Not really inspiring, right?
  5. They’re typically vague with no specific plan.

Resolutions vs. Goals

Instead of resolutions, let’s talk about goals. A goal is defined as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/goal?s=t). What a much more inspiring definition. The word goal has such a positive connotation and that definition instills much more of a sense of hope in reaching your dreams and desires. However, setting goals can be overwhelming for some. Here’s what I suggest:

Easy Steps For Goal Planning

  1. Brainstorm – you probably have a ton of ideas floating around in your head. If you’ve never taken the time to do a “dump” where you just put it all on paper, I highly suggest you start there. Don’t worry about it sounding silly or being “too big” of a dream. Just write it down and don’t break scared to dream big.
  2. Look over what you wrote and try to pick 1-3 goals for now to focus on. Make sure your goal is achievable. Sometimes our goal is not specific enough and makes us feel like it’s not reachable. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds that’s a great goal, but I would suggest even wording it to say that you want to lose 5 pounds a month until you reach your goal weight or fit back into your favorite jeans. That sounds so much more doable!
  3. Next, take each goal and break it down into 3-5 smaller steps. To continue with the same example from above, you want to lose 5 pounds per month, so your smaller steps could be: 1) to decrease your soda intake from 5x a week to 2x a week. 2) to exercise 3x a week for at least 20 minutes. 3) to increase your veggie and fruit intake to at least 4 a day.
  4. Next, pick just one of the steps to work on now. That’s your focus. Work to achieve that one step before you move on to the next step. You can do it!
  5. Now, this is important. Re-assess your goals at least every quarter. This business of setting once a year resolutions is not helpful. Goals are meant to be looked at often. Things change. You change. You want to make sure you are heading in the right direction. The direction you feel is right for you.

The end of the year can bring a mix of emotions. Happiness for the good memories. Disappointment for things you hoped for that didn’t pan out. Frustration about where you are in your life versus where you thought you’d be. Don’t let the temporary feelings bring you down. Put that energy into planning the life you want for yourself by writing it out through your goals. Without a goal, you really don’t know which direction you’re going so I’ll say it again, dream big, and don’t listen to the haters.

If you feel stuck or unhappy where you are in your life or need help figuring out your next steps, email me at [email protected] or call/text me at 904-204-9308. I’d love to help.


Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woman. For a free phone/online consultation or to schedule a session with Maria, call 904-204-9308 or email her at [email protected]

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