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Ask Dr. C: Trash ’em or Take ’em? Revisiting New Years Resolutions at Year’s End

end the year strong


Dear Dr. C:

Q:  The end of the year is fast approaching and my New Years Resolutions are out the window.  Do I just start again in January or can I salvage something this year?

A:  It is going by quickly, isn’t it?  Try the following ideas that work for me!

1. Decide which goals are worth resurrecting to finish this year strong.
We can start off the year valiantly, with many good intentions and many hopes for the new year, and quickly fall short. But don’t get discouraged if some of those goals didn’t last. Goal-setting is a marathon, not a sprint. And sometimes, for legitimate reasons, we can’t or don’t last the long-haul. Life happens, circumstances change, some goals emerge as more important than others, or we just lose steam.
So, take a moment and re-asses which goals from your list are actually do-able, and worthy of resurrection, and which need to go the way of the dino. Choose one or two that you can focus on to end the year strong.

2. For those goals that you fell short, let yourself off the hook.
Yes, you had grandiose plans back in January, but it is now October. Realize it is OK to let some of it go. You are human. If you have regrets and/or grudges against yourself that you carry into the New Year, next year will just be a repeat of this year. We are our own worst critic. Real, lasting change cannot happen in an environment of criticism- especially self-criticism. So, you failed? SO WHAT? See our “quote wall” quote from last week. Forgive yourself, so you can begin to get motivated about the future. You can always try again.
It is never too late.  Today is a great day for a new start.

3. Remind yourself that each day you need to make choices to support that goal.
Talent alone will not get you to those goals. Today, strive to make a right choice toward your goal. Ask yourself, “What is ONE small thing I can do today?” And then do it. Big victories are really just the sum of many everyday small decisions/actions.
I love what Sharon Wood, the first North American woman to climb Mt. Everest said. “I discovered it was not a matter of physical strength, but a matter of psychological strength. The conquest lay within my own mind to penetrate those barriers of self-imposed limitations and get through to that good stuff- that stuff called potential.”

4. Finish your goals this year with a friend that wants to work on her goals, too.  
You can keep each other company when you’re tempted to fizzle out. Give each other challenges to see who can do more by the end of the year, or at least just “check in” with each other periodically.

See how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Having someone who is in it with you, can sometimes be just the encouragement you need to keep going. You’re not alone in this.

– Crystal