Less Resolution and More Expansiveness

New Year’s Day is almost here and with it comes the question of resolutions… Should you make them? What would they look like? This got me thinking about the definition of a resolution: “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Yikes! So what happens when you change your mind in a couple months and decide that 3 instead of 4 days at the gym is enough? You’ll be going back on your “firm decision” and probably feeling like a failure. That’s the problem with New Year’s resolutions — the intention is good but the method is flawed. It’s wonderful to want to make healthy changes in your life but oftentimes, you’re inadvertently setting yourself up for disaster by placing unrealistic expectations on yourself.

What if we shifted our focus to larger, more expansive goals? So, instead of saying “I’m going to workout 4 days a week”, maybe say, “I’m going to get healthier this year”. Then, because you’re still going to need some guidance on how to achieve that goal, break it down into smaller parts. Going off this example, you could strive for simply making time in your schedule for weekly physical activity, mindfulness, reflection, etc. That way, you have protected time available to focus on yourself and your health while also not forcing a trip to the gym if you just “can’t” one day. Instead, you could do a 30 minute guided meditation or engage in meal planning or journal — all things that positively benefit your health! You have committed to prioritizing something you value, physical health, with the understanding that in practice, it may look a bit different week to week.

So, this year, let’s try a mental shift from resolutions to expanding the idea of what living a better life means. That feels more sustainable, lasting, and meaningful than pushing ourselves to achieve a “firm decision” we’ve made that might not make sense ongoing. Allowing ourselves to shift focus and set new or different intentions is important — developing the ability to be flexible is a life skill that will only benefit us in every other areas of our lives as well.

Take good care in the new year!! Wishing you health, happiness, and peace of mind as we head into 2019.


Originally published at Amie Piekarz, LICSW.