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  • Writer's pictureMolly Schroeder, LMHC

New Year's Resolutions

Ever wonder why people still make New Year’s resolutions? I mean, it seems like by 

mid-January most people have given up completely. In fact, the third Monday in January is referred to as Blue Monday because of the overwhelming sense of depression and disappointment people often feel only three short weeks into the new year. Plus, you know, it is a Monday which can suck all on its own. The bills from December and holiday overspending have come due. But most notably, it is the time frame in which most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. It is a doozy of a day! Personally, I aim to make Blue Monday a self-care day because it traditionally hits me like a dispiriting shovel to my holiday-cookie-and-eggnog-bloated face. 

So why set yourself up for the pain and discouragement? Why do we still get inundated with end-of-the-year pep talks about setting resolutions and shooting for the stars? My answer is simple - Goals are important. 

People need to have goals. Without them, we are adrift. The simple act of creating a goal gives us purpose and self-efficacy. Progressing toward a goal, even in tiny increments, gives you a sense of control. If we did not have goals, however small they may be, you would wake up and face each monotonous day with a sense of Groundhog Day futility. What is the point? Shake it up a little, add some challenge, step outside of your comfort zone (hint - there is no growth in comfort). Having a goal will light a fire in you, it will remind you that you are not adrift, you are steering the ship, YOU are the captain. If this is appealing, let's explore simple steps to make it happen. 

What do you want to accomplish? What is on your bucket list? Who do you want to be?? These questions give insight into choosing a goal. Feel free to start small, even tiny. Want to set a goal that you wash your hair 1x a week? Great! But really don’t be scared to dream big, too. Thinking of running for office with your eyes on the presidency? Who is going to tell you NO - not me! Go for it, I’m gonna be your biggest cheerleader. 

Now, I am a big talker when it comes to goals, this I know. I have giant aspirations, fantastical thinking, and an imagination that won’t quit. But follow-through is where I struggle. Often chomping at the bit in early January, by the middle of the month I am bored or tired or not seeing the progress I hoped for. I am the epitome of a Blue Monday sulker. Where I tend to fall short is how I organize/plan for my goals - the steps needed to achieve the goals and the plan I put in place for consistency. Failing to plan is planning to fail! 

Creating a SMART plan will keep your goals on the horizon with an actual achievable outcome rather than a grand fantasy with unlikely results. Many people are familiar with this helpful acronym and I find it a simple way to keep on track:

There we have it! Nothing outrageous. In fact, a basic and digestible format that allows for you to be the boss of the program. All you need now is a target and a cheerleader (Hint - your therapist is great at this!). Go out there and achieve your dreams. You can do this! 


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