By Cynthia Hovis, MSW, LCSW
Did you make a resolution for 2017? How are you doing with it now that spring has arrived? Are you off to a good start? Are you keeping up with it? Does your goal need a review?
The top contenders for resolutions tend to involve weight loss, finances and relationships. If you are not keeping yours the way you had hoped, you are not alone. The University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology found that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% report being successful at keeping them. About half (49%) have infrequent success and 24% report failure (never succeeding) on their resolution each year.
If you usually fall within that 24%, don’t give up! Even if you didn’t make a resolution this year, it is never too late to take steps toward becoming a healthier, happier you.
Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your resolution to fit you better? Maybe it’s time to start fresh with a new goal or begin researching your next resolution? Behavior changes take time and practice. It’s a fluid process and should be thought of as a journey rather than a one-time event. It can help to focus on the positive changes you would like to add to your life to help you reach a healthy life balance, instead of things not to do.
The trick is to take your resolutions seriously in the selection process and choose one SMART goal to focus on (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based). Make it realistic to you and something that you are intrinsically motivated to want. Think about how to measure it in a way that makes it an uplifting feature in your life rather than a way of torturing yourself, which can lead to frustration and discouragement. Break down your goal into small steps and celebrate milestones along the way. Be accountable by letting others know of your goals and encouraging them to celebrate with you. Allow yourself to be human and have setbacks, relapses and mistakes. You don’t cancel your vacation for a flat tire; you simply address it and keep on going. Why abandon efforts for healthy life changes at the first sign of difficulty? Life is not an “all-or-nothing exercise” -- it is an ever-changing process.
Are you feeling discouraged or overwhelmed by the goal-setting process? If you’re not quite sure where to start, how to determine what your goals should be or what the best path is, BJC EAP can help. We can help you sort through your aspirations, make them into clear goals and develop a plan to work on one step at a time, one day at a time.
Spring cleaning is all about removing the clutter, and the BJC EAP professionals can help you recognize and deal with emotional clutter so you can move toward the life you want. Each day is a new beginning, so dust off those resolutions or set new goals by calling BJC EAP at 314.729.7490.