Dear Therapist: Maintaining Those Resolutions

How’s It Going With Those Resolutions?

Dear Therapist:

I made a few resolutions this year. It’s the end of January and I feel like I have pretty much stopped doing them all at this point. I know it’s common enough and it’s almost February. Should I let them go or try to recommit to them again?

This is definitely a common feeling right around this point in the New Year. The excited feeling of creating something new for yourself – whether that be better health or a new habit like reading more – 31 days in and we are reminded just how hard it is to change and make something new stick.

Here’s the first thing I suggest. No matter which way you go – either to keep on trying or to let them go – be kind to yourself. In the totality of the journey we are on, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Do not use this decision to beat yourself up or be miserable.

Second, think about it. You mention you made several resolutions. Often, trying to change too many habits at once is too much and we need to enter the zone gradually. Is there one that feels really good continuing to pursue? Alternatively, do you want to keep pursuing them all and simply recognize the lull in changing? Or do you want to just let them all be and go back to your comfortable ways?

Any of these choices are valid and fine. It really has to do with you and what intuitively feels right as to how you will continue on.

Perhaps you are going to carve out a middle ground for yourself — something beyond any of those options.

Let’s say you had resolved to go to the gym five times per week. Perhaps you do not stick with any set number, but notice when you do go to the gym and count it as a time you cared well for yourself and felt good about going without the pressure of the artificial number. Basically, noticing the changes as they are organically happening. You may have more success taking the pressure off yourself.

Tomorrow, February dawns in 2020. Some of us are continuing the resolutions, many of us are not, and some are in-between. Wherever you are, make the decision that feels right for you at this moment, knowing there is space to change.