by Sam Dalton, MSW, LCSW
If you are thinking about setting New Year’s Resolutions, keep reading for some tips on how to make them work for you! As a therapist, the new year has become an interesting moment of both observation and reflection. In my observation, social media platforms become filled with a flurry of posts either being pro-resolutions or anti-resolutions. There is about a three week period between December and January where everyone is trying to convince everyone else that their approach is best. Then, by January people seem to already move on from resolutions. It’s a mind bending and confusing few weeks.
–Goals do not have a required start date.
–Your goals do not have to be deemed ‘worthy’ by anyone other than you.
–You are allowed to stay exactly as you are and exactly where you are if you are feeling content.
–Goals can be important as they give us something to strive towards, and they are not a fix all.
–The goal itself doesn’t do the work, you do.
If you are reflecting on what this year is going to bring and where you will be come January 2025, the last point above is the key. The key being a unique question that isn’t often acknowledged in the flurry of social media posts.
The question to ask in regards to your goals is not ‘what should my goals be?’, but instead focusing on ‘how much work am I feeling capable of putting in towards my goals?’
I call this doing a start of the year energy assessment. Rather than starting with a list of goals, start by thinking about how you are doing. Assess where you are emotionally, mentally, and physically as the year begins.
–How am I feeling as the year is getting started?
–Looking ahead at the year, what level of energy will I have to give towards what I want to work on?
–Did last year drain me, and if so, how can I heal from that this year?
–Where would I like to be at the end of this year, and do I feel like that is a manageable place for me to get to in relation to where I am currently at in life?
–How can I better take care of myself this year?
These questions are not focused on end goals. They are focused on meeting you where you are at, which is what will set you up for success. If you are recovering from physical health issues, maybe 2024 isn’t the year of running a marathon. Instead, you could focus on building strength at a rate that is manageable.
If you are recovering from grief, maybe 2024 isn’t a year where we’re focused on achievement, but instead focused on finding peace and calm. Likewise, if 2023 was the year of recuperating, maybe 2024 is the year of achievement. We set our goals and dreams up for success when we give ourselves grace for where our energy is. Choose to operate from what your current situation is, instead of where you wish you were.
As we are about to get into February, I encourage you to spend some time giving yourself an energy assessment for the year. Think about your intention behind your goals before setting them. This will set you up for success. You deserve the chance to meet yourself where you’re at from a place of love and caring, rather than regret and frustration.
Happy New Year, friend!