With 2017 right around the corner, what are you reflecting on? What are you envisioning for this next year? New Year’s resolutions are more than 4,000 years old and embraced by cultures around the world. The tradition of setting resolutions tells us that the need for self-reflection and self-improvement is human nature.
Have you written off making New Years Resolutions?
You are not alone. Research from the Journal of Clinical Psychology estimates that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions and only 8% are successful in achieving those resolutions. With that low of a success rate, most feel its foolish to even try setting a resolution in the first place. No one wants to set themselves up to fail. But here is the surprising truth,
People who openly make resolutions are 10 times more successful at achieving their goals.
So, if we want to see change, whether at the New Year or some other time of the year, being clear and open with our resolutions will give us a remarkable advantage at being successful.
So, what makes a good resolution?
How do we make resolutions that we can proclaim to the world and that leave us feeling successful and proud? Rather than making lofty resolutions based on an ambiguous goal we’d like to achieve (i.e. losing weight, get a new job, drink less), let’s focus on improving the core of who we are by looking at what matters the most.
It is time to make VALUE RESOLUTIONS.
Values are what we consider meaningful in life. They reflect what we care about deep down, and act as guides for our daily decisions and behaviors. Dr. Stephen Covey states that values reflect how we want to live, love, learn, and leave a legacy. Values come in many categories, including family, relationships, parenting, spirituality, community involvement, physical health, social life, career, recreation, personal growth, etc. Values reflect the core of who we are, how we spend time, and how we invest our energy.
Why is it so important to establish Value Resolutions?
Values connect us to a greater purpose in life. They help us sort through what is important and unimportant. Values are more constant, while goals are fluid and may change frequently.
What we value is significantly more powerful and fulfilling than what we achieve.
While achievement-based goals often become a burden haunting and taunting us when they are not being achieved, values are life giving and motivating in and of themselves. Following our values helps us contribute positively in our community and areas of influence.
Perhaps the reason we don’t achieve our resolutions is that they do not really reflect what we value the most and are too narrow in focus to really have meaning to us.
Here are some steps to take if you are interested in developing Value Resolutions this year.
1. Spend time in your spiritual and reflective space in order to identify the core values most active in your life today. Try spending time in prayer, journaling, reflecting on what makes life meaningful to you and how those values affect your behaviors and desires, etc.
2. Write these values down. Try to be as descriptive as possible. For example, don’t just write “have a good marriage”. Write down what you value about marriage, such as companionship, safety, intimacy, etc.
3. Spend some time prioritizing your values. Consider how important those values are to you. Remember that there are many powerful values in life, but not all values can be a priority for us. Try developing a short list of powerful and prioritized core values. Here is a great worksheet to help you with this process http://media.psychology.tools/worksheets/english_us/values_en-us.pdf
4. Identify some activities (goals) that help you live out the Value Resolution that you find the most important. It is helpful to simply pick one value with many roads to achievement. For example, if you value physical health, then a goal could be to have a menu of activities that you could choose from to support your goal of being healthier. The menu could include going on walks, doing more outdoor activities, making more meals at home, taking a class at the gym, make more healthy food choices, etc.
Once you have determined your core values, you will find resolutions easier to identify and that you are more motivated to fulfill them. If you find that you get stuck in the value reflecting process, or that even with clear values, change is hard to come by in life, then please contact me at www.nathanaelreadmft.com or (530) 953-9363. Let’s Discover Hope together.
Nathanael Read, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing in Redding, CA. He currently specializes in marriage therapy and couples counseling, working with couples in conflict or distress, and individual counseling for those affected by depression, anxiety, and trauma. His passion is to help clients DISCOVER HOPE in their lives. Contact Nathanael with questions or to set up your FREE 15 minute Consultation to learn how you may benefit from therapy today.