It’s the beginning of a new year. The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on the previous year and to hit the reset button on the new year. It’s also the time when most of us make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, most of these resolutions are broken within a few months and we revert back to our old ways. One suggestion is to create a personal treatment plan for yourself. Of course you’re not necessarily treating anything but developing a plan instead of making resolutions will often yield better results. I suggest making goals with no expiration date. This relieves some of the pressure of having to complete a goal by a specific date. If you don’t get it done by the end of the year, then just roll it over to the next year until you complete it. Since the most common resolution is losing weight, I provided an example of a resolution versus a goal.
Example Resolution – Lose 50 pounds by the end of this year
Resolutions are more firm and direct decisions to either do something (i.e. lose weight) or not do something (i.e. stop smoking). Although clear and direct resolutions can be a good idea at times, they often add additional pressure and feeling of guilt or failure when they are not achieved. These feelings may cause us to give up completely.
Example Goal- Lose weight and be healthier
*Reduce sugar intake
*Eat more vegetables
Goals are more general in nature and provide an opportunity to achieve incremental success. Setting small, attainable goals build confidence and motivation to move on to more advanced goals. Setting goals with no firm end date reduces the stress and provides an opportunity to continue a goal for the next year.
As case managers and other human service clinicians, we often set up treatment plans for the people we serve. We help people develop goals and objectives for their lives every year. Once a goal is met we delete it and develop more goals. The goals that are not met get to remain on the plan until they are achieved. The same principles can be applied to our own lives. This year, I hope that you achieve all of your goals and objectives for this year. Happy New Year!