When we open our new calendars to a new year, there is a sense of hope, of having a clean slate, of being able to take on any challenge that comes with the New Year. And we all start out with good intentions – to make a career change, to exercise more frequently, to quit a bad habit – but with all of these good intentions it can be easy to fall off track
But just because you stray from your New Year’s Resolutions once or twice does not mean that you can’t refocus. Psychologist Anne-Renee Testa, Ph.D. has been helping clients overcome barriers to achieve their goals for over 20 years. Here are her tips for avoiding self-sabotage in the New Year.
Figure out why. It’s easy to write down your resolutions, but it takes more of a commitment to write down why you want to achieve these goals and how they will better your life. “Losing 10 pounds” can lose its impact in a month or two – “Losing 10 pounds so that I can go rock climbing over the summer” gives you a reason to get out of bed for those early morning workouts. You designed your New Years Resolutions to better your life, remember that.
Know you deserve it. Often people think that they don’t really deserve to experience the joy that comes with achieving a goal, so why bother trying? When you are making your resolutions know that you deserve better – a better job, better health, a better lifestyle, whatever it may be. Say to yourself, “I deserve better” every morning, and even if you don’t believe it at the time it will soon become your mind-set.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you slip and have one cigarette or drink, know that hope is not lost. The things that are the best for us are usually the hardest; you may experience guilt, but be proud that you have taken the initiative to do something good for yourself.
Find support. If you’re having a bad day and finding it hard to stick to your guns, you need to have someone to rely on. Do you have a friend who has kicked a bad habit of her own? Call her when you need some backup. If not, try to find a local support group, like AA, Gambler’s Anonymous, Overeater’s Anonymous, etc. You think you’re alone in your struggle, when in fact there are so many people that have the same problem. Learning from them may help you with your battle.