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New habits in the new year

You want to start tackling a goal in the new year? Or several? Both new and old?

Great. Let's do this.

Whether it's Dry January or better boundaries with your future mother-in-law, I hear these ideas brewing in December sessions. Reflections -especially from those lucky enough to have this week off work. Though kind of like the question of religion ("I would call myself more SPIritual...."), people are starting to seem loathe to use the word "resolution". Why?

My hunch is it's something around fear of failure. If you officially have NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS written down somewhere, they're real. If people heard you say them, you might fall off track. You might not do them. You might think to yourself yousuckyoufailedyetagainyourenevergoingtochangeyou'redoomedyou'renotoneofthegoodhealthy#winningonesyou'restuckandyoualsosuck

Brutal. Unpleasant. Of course you don't want to hear this blather.

That would be unpleasant.

But also you could

-succeed and not have these thoughts, you could

-partially succeed and learn something in the process and still have the thoughts, you could --find more meaningful goals along the way, or you could

-have these thoughts in February for whatever reason and turn the volume down because they're drunk senile idiots. Give them a gentle pat on the shoulder and know that you're getting misguided (mostly) benign dispatches from an old, primitive, ineffectual news bureau with crazy toddlers in charge.


When you're not scared of your own thoughts (drunken toddlers), you can aim high.

Here are some tips to help you succeed when you make the bold resolutions. Or whatever you want to call them.

-Get some support.

Will you do this with a group? (Join a running group, an established support group, or make a pact with friends and check in at regular intervals.)

-Do some research.

Figure out how people have done this before. Read and ask around. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You'll find it helps when you have a really clear and strong why.

-Identify your why.

How will you feel different with this change? What will it mean about your self concept? How might your most important relationships feel better? Your conscience? (Are you just doing this because it "seems like the right thing to do"? Not a super powerful why.)

-Be real.

It's going to be hard- or you'd have done it already. WHEN is it going to be toughest? Be kind to yourself then. Build in some rest, some connection, some treats, and tools. Plan some time with a therapist or a parent or best friend. Look at when you've had success in the past? What did you have going for you? Get some of that. Plan ahead.

It's definitely worth a try.

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