With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts – Eleanor Roosevelt
With the start of the new year, many find themselves reflecting on the past year, re-evaluating life, and pondering what “resolutions” they will set for the new year. New year’s resolutions often focus on “stopping” doing certain things and starting to make changes. Many resolutions revolve around trying to be healthier in some way. Yet evidence shows that about 80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions longer than six weeks. That means by the time the Valentine’s Day rolls around, many have abandoned their desire to change. Often resolutions are attempts to find ways to solve problems.
What if, instead of making New Year’s Resolutions which require change and “fixing” problems (and change is hard!) – you focus instead on making New Year’s Solutions?
Who doesn’t like a solution after all? One way to identify solutions is to focus on things that have gone well in the past, and pinpoint how you can do more of that (rather than trying to change).
As you reflect on the past year, here are 5 questions to ask yourself and guide your thinking:
- What went well for you in 2018?
- What did you feel happy about?
- What behaviors helped you feel successful and were doable?
- How can you do more that?
- Instead of thinking about “problems”, how can you reframe your thinking into positive “opportunities” and solutions? (Reframing a situation, idea, or belief can bring a fresh perspective. You can read more about this in our January 2, 2019 post.)
Here’s an example from Deb…
I am a fan of Starbucks Mochas. As 2018 opened, I was getting a Mocha most every day. I also like Starbucks lattes. And the latte has fewer calories. So I started ordering the latte more often. I also discovered I didn’t really need a grande but was satisfied with a tall, so I now order a tall most days. When you add up the calories over the course of a year, that’s a significant savings! (Now on some days when I really need a pick me up I may decide on a Mocha or splurge on a grande, but it’s no longer the routine). I leveraged something that was going well, and did more of it. It was doable. I closed out 2018 happy about this solution.
Here’s an example from Tami…
One of my favorite ways to get physical activity is to walk in the neighborhood after a long work day. I especially like this in the fall and during the holidays with all of the decorations and twinkling lights providing a fresh view to take in while meeting my step goal and unwinding from the day. The past few months I’ve battled a foot injury that has made walking my usual routes impossible some days. Rather than focusing on the “I can’t”, I’ve turned and focused on what I CAN do. By reframing my thoughts, I find myself thinking, “ I can do this. I am not lazy. I am rebuilding my endurance step by step. I am grateful I am able to do half of my usual walk, it’s better than none.” And I’m really grateful for the days I’ve been able to complete my routine route! I’ve focused on keeping the habit going. Focusing on what I CAN DO and what is going well, rather than fixating on what I can’t accomplish. By reframing the situation, my resulting emotions are feeling confident, in control, and hopeful.
So as we look with excitement to 2019, join us in making New Year’s Solutions and resolving to do more of things that we do well!
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