Resolve Better this Year
A lot of folks hate New Year’s resolutions, and understandably so. A poorly designed resolution is a great way to get your new year started off on the wrong foot. Cue visions of sweeping life changes followed by disappointment and beating yourself up…bummer. That said, taking the time to reflect and make intentional choices about your life once in a while can be valuable. So, whether you’re making official New Year’s resolutions or setting goals any old time of the year, here are three tips to help you be more successful (and a few local organizations to support you on your path)!
1. Dream Small
It is so tempting to want to change everything all at once, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself and it’s hard to measure your own progress. Pare it down and pick something to focus on for three months that you think you can honestly execute 80% of the time. After three months, check in and re-assess how that goal is serving you and adjust accordingly.
For example, here’s a vague and over-doing-it style resolution: “I want to save the animals.” Here’s a revised goal: “I will foster kittens for the SPCA.” The revised goal is a clear and straightforward way of implementing the larger goal with plenty of room to modify later.
Interested in fostering animals in need? Learn more about the SPCA’s volunteer fostering program.
2. Add, Don’t Restrict
It’s easy to focus on a negative aspect of your life and want to eliminate it. The problem with restriction is that it activates our inner toddler and makes us obsessed with what we can’t have. Voila! You went from wanting to cut back to bingeing even more.
Tune into a constructive habit that you want to build and use it to drive down the negative habit. For example, a restriction-based goal might be: “I want to spend less time watching TV.” The revised goal: “I want to do X (movement I enjoy) after dinner once a week.” The revised, addition-style goal helps you prioritize an activity that adds to your quality of life while indirectly reducing time available for the negative habit.
Speaking of building a movement habit, did you know that Bike Walk Tompkins has an Adaptive Bike Library? Sign up to borrow an adaptive bike or trike for free for a week!
3. Practice Forgiveness
Even manageable goals aren’t manageable all of the time. Stuff. Comes. Up. Go into your resolution celebrating progress over perfection and resist the urge to shame yourself about missing a target. Shame says, “I’m a failure and I’m throwing in the towel,” while forgiveness leads to, “I will try again tomorrow.”
If you are struggling with feelings of shame and self-worth, here are some local resources working to support mental health in Tompkins County: