New Year, New You

By Aliza Cooper - 01/11/2017


Ok everyone.  2017 is here! Another year has gone by, and we’re ready to start fresh.  Tis’ the season for the (in)famous New Year’s Resolution. The tradition of the New Year’s Resolution dates back to ancient times.  Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts¹.  The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named².  In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry³.  The list goes on.

In today’s modern times, we commit to rid ourselves of a vice, lose weight, be nicer to our families, work harder–you name it.  The question is, for all the time we have dedicated over the years to this age-old tradition, are New Year’s Resolutions actually effective?

The good news is they can be, but not without some work.  Here are a few tips and tricks to make this year’s resolution one that will stick.

  1. Clearly define your goals: If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s much harder to find your way.  With a clear goal in mind, you’ll be able to create a plan for how you’re able to get there.
  2. Track your progress: With a clearly defined goal, it’s simple to measure how far you are towards achieving it, where you might be falling behind, and how much further you have to go.  Celebrate the successes as they come, and create new markers for yourself as you reach milestones along the way.
  3. Be patient: You won’t lose 20 pounds overnight and you won’t be able to break a habit you’ve had for years in 2 days.  Have some compassion for yourself and the journey you’ve committed yourself to.  Change takes time, and if you allow yourself to be patient, you’ll be happier with the results.
  4. Create a support network: Tell your friends and family about your resolution.  Post your plan on social media.  The more supportive people you have around you who know of your goals, the more successful you’ll be in achieving them.  Who knows, someone else might even be inspired to follow suit.
  5. Pencil it in: If you’re going to set a goal for yourself, especially one that requires extra time, (i.e. losing weight, spending more time with loved ones, etc.) put it in your calendar.  Just saying you’re going to go to do something usually isn’t enough. If you write it into your schedule, your resolution naturally becomes incorporated into your day, and you are much more likely to follow through.
  6. If you fall down, get back up: Think back to what I said earlier: change doesn’t happen overnight.  With that said, it makes perfect sense that somewhere along the path to your goal, you might slip up.  If this happens, dust yourself off and get back up.  It’s not all or nothing, you haven’t failed.  Learn from what got you off track and develop a plan for how to combat it in the future.  
  1. Lennox, Doug (2007). Now You Know Big Book of Answers one of the amazing thing. Toronto: Dundurn. p. 250. ISBN 1-55002-741-7.
  2. Julia Jasmine (1998). Multicultural Holidays. Teacher Created Resources. p. 116. ISBN 1-55734-615-1.
  3. Lennox, Doug (2007). Now You Know Big Book of Answers. Toronto: Dundurn. p. 250. ISBN 1-55002-741-7.

By: Aliza Cooper, LMFT PCS Staff Therapist

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