A Fresh Outlook for a New Year

Reviewed Dec 22, 2016

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Summary

  • Commit to enjoy life more.
  • Develop a mental picture of you with your goal achieved.
  • Try new approaches to change.

The new year is a time for reflection on our accomplishments—both personally and professionally—in the one just gone by. It is also a time to set new goals. Unfortunately, the goals set in January often become February’s broken promises. To avoid getting stuck in a pattern of setting resolutions that are doomed to fail year after year, try a new approach this year.

Since the new year signifies a period of renewal, begin with a fresh outlook. We frequently are critical of ourselves as we set New Year’s resolutions. By doing so, we start off on the wrong foot by sending a negative message to ourselves. Is it any wonder that we then fail to live up to our own harsh, and often unrealistic, expectations?

Start off by taking time to reflect on your accomplishments from the past year. Even the smallest of successes count. If it was a difficult year, give yourself credit for surviving it. Do count your blessings. There always is someone less fortunate than yourself.

Set goals for yourself

Then, why not focus upon one primary goal? Make a commitment to yourself to enjoy your life more. That’s right. Rather than begrudgingly telling yourself once again that, “this is the year I will go on another diet and lose those 20 pounds,” perhaps a more positive approach is to set a goal of changing your attitude about your life. This way, you will make lifestyle changes that will ultimately help you lose weight and keep it off for life.

Certainly it is important to set goals in specific terms and have a step-by-step plan by which to accomplish those goals. Yet researchers also have found that one of the most important characteristics common to successful people is their ability to create a positive mental picture of themselves accomplishing their goals. In other words, we can get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the big picture. So if your goal is weight loss, you should first consciously develop a mental picture of how you will look, feel, and behave once you’ve reached your ideal weight. That image will then be what you strive for rather than solely focusing on the bathroom scale notches.

It’s common for human beings to stubbornly try the same approaches time and time again to reach a goal. That’s commendable. However, new approaches are often what ultimately makes the difference. While there are no guarantees you will be successful, consider trying a new angle on New Year’s resolutions. Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and the inspiration will follow.

Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy the gift of life more. And remember, once you’ve attained better mental health, anything’s possible.

  • Take up a new hobby.
  • Experience more sunrises and sunsets.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Write more letters (preferably by hand rather than email).
  • Volunteer (we do receive by giving to others).
  • Eat by candlelight as often as possible.
  • Let children teach you how to really play and laugh again.
  • Make something with your own hands.
  • Go on more picnics.
  • Give yourself a compliment every day.
  • Slow down and, oh yes, smell the roses.
By Karen Szmyd Dickason, LCSW, CEAP

Summary

  • Commit to enjoy life more.
  • Develop a mental picture of you with your goal achieved.
  • Try new approaches to change.

The new year is a time for reflection on our accomplishments—both personally and professionally—in the one just gone by. It is also a time to set new goals. Unfortunately, the goals set in January often become February’s broken promises. To avoid getting stuck in a pattern of setting resolutions that are doomed to fail year after year, try a new approach this year.

Since the new year signifies a period of renewal, begin with a fresh outlook. We frequently are critical of ourselves as we set New Year’s resolutions. By doing so, we start off on the wrong foot by sending a negative message to ourselves. Is it any wonder that we then fail to live up to our own harsh, and often unrealistic, expectations?

Start off by taking time to reflect on your accomplishments from the past year. Even the smallest of successes count. If it was a difficult year, give yourself credit for surviving it. Do count your blessings. There always is someone less fortunate than yourself.

Set goals for yourself

Then, why not focus upon one primary goal? Make a commitment to yourself to enjoy your life more. That’s right. Rather than begrudgingly telling yourself once again that, “this is the year I will go on another diet and lose those 20 pounds,” perhaps a more positive approach is to set a goal of changing your attitude about your life. This way, you will make lifestyle changes that will ultimately help you lose weight and keep it off for life.

Certainly it is important to set goals in specific terms and have a step-by-step plan by which to accomplish those goals. Yet researchers also have found that one of the most important characteristics common to successful people is their ability to create a positive mental picture of themselves accomplishing their goals. In other words, we can get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the big picture. So if your goal is weight loss, you should first consciously develop a mental picture of how you will look, feel, and behave once you’ve reached your ideal weight. That image will then be what you strive for rather than solely focusing on the bathroom scale notches.

It’s common for human beings to stubbornly try the same approaches time and time again to reach a goal. That’s commendable. However, new approaches are often what ultimately makes the difference. While there are no guarantees you will be successful, consider trying a new angle on New Year’s resolutions. Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and the inspiration will follow.

Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy the gift of life more. And remember, once you’ve attained better mental health, anything’s possible.

  • Take up a new hobby.
  • Experience more sunrises and sunsets.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Write more letters (preferably by hand rather than email).
  • Volunteer (we do receive by giving to others).
  • Eat by candlelight as often as possible.
  • Let children teach you how to really play and laugh again.
  • Make something with your own hands.
  • Go on more picnics.
  • Give yourself a compliment every day.
  • Slow down and, oh yes, smell the roses.
By Karen Szmyd Dickason, LCSW, CEAP

Summary

  • Commit to enjoy life more.
  • Develop a mental picture of you with your goal achieved.
  • Try new approaches to change.

The new year is a time for reflection on our accomplishments—both personally and professionally—in the one just gone by. It is also a time to set new goals. Unfortunately, the goals set in January often become February’s broken promises. To avoid getting stuck in a pattern of setting resolutions that are doomed to fail year after year, try a new approach this year.

Since the new year signifies a period of renewal, begin with a fresh outlook. We frequently are critical of ourselves as we set New Year’s resolutions. By doing so, we start off on the wrong foot by sending a negative message to ourselves. Is it any wonder that we then fail to live up to our own harsh, and often unrealistic, expectations?

Start off by taking time to reflect on your accomplishments from the past year. Even the smallest of successes count. If it was a difficult year, give yourself credit for surviving it. Do count your blessings. There always is someone less fortunate than yourself.

Set goals for yourself

Then, why not focus upon one primary goal? Make a commitment to yourself to enjoy your life more. That’s right. Rather than begrudgingly telling yourself once again that, “this is the year I will go on another diet and lose those 20 pounds,” perhaps a more positive approach is to set a goal of changing your attitude about your life. This way, you will make lifestyle changes that will ultimately help you lose weight and keep it off for life.

Certainly it is important to set goals in specific terms and have a step-by-step plan by which to accomplish those goals. Yet researchers also have found that one of the most important characteristics common to successful people is their ability to create a positive mental picture of themselves accomplishing their goals. In other words, we can get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the big picture. So if your goal is weight loss, you should first consciously develop a mental picture of how you will look, feel, and behave once you’ve reached your ideal weight. That image will then be what you strive for rather than solely focusing on the bathroom scale notches.

It’s common for human beings to stubbornly try the same approaches time and time again to reach a goal. That’s commendable. However, new approaches are often what ultimately makes the difference. While there are no guarantees you will be successful, consider trying a new angle on New Year’s resolutions. Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and the inspiration will follow.

Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy the gift of life more. And remember, once you’ve attained better mental health, anything’s possible.

  • Take up a new hobby.
  • Experience more sunrises and sunsets.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Write more letters (preferably by hand rather than email).
  • Volunteer (we do receive by giving to others).
  • Eat by candlelight as often as possible.
  • Let children teach you how to really play and laugh again.
  • Make something with your own hands.
  • Go on more picnics.
  • Give yourself a compliment every day.
  • Slow down and, oh yes, smell the roses.
By Karen Szmyd Dickason, LCSW, CEAP

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