As the New Year approaches, we’re inclined to get our resolutions in order to better ourselves in the coming year. Before thinking up a whole batch of new ones for the year ahead, reflect first on your resolutions from the past year. Have you kept your promises? Could you have done something differently? Which ones do you want to continue, and which ones could you have done without? Any regrets? What were the rewards?
Indeed, a new year is a fresh start, but it’s not a completely blank slate. By assessing last year’s resolution success (or lack thereof), you can make new resolutions with greater intention and clarity.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
The goal of successful self-improvement isn’t perfection, it’s progress. There’s so much to look back on, and not every goal you had set for yourself may have been fulfilled. This doesn’t equal failure. Rather than focusing on what you weren’t able to achieve, celebrate the strides you’ve made that are meaningful to you.
A lot can happen over the course of a year. What may have been important to you 12 months ago could be last on your list today. We make resolutions to evolve, empower, and educate. Resolutions aren’t set in stone; they are references to what we want to aspire to.
If you didn’t “check off all the boxes,” that’s OK. Observe the overall picture instead of examining each pixel. Keeping resolutions is not a competition, it is a challenge. As long as you’re generally pleased with where you stand today, consider it reason enough to celebrate.
It can be exciting to plan for major changes with this fresh start. Remember, baby steps move us forward too, and every achievement is admirable. Perhaps you had intended to reconnect with old friends or family members with whom you’d lost touch. Did you reach out to just one of them? Mission accomplished. If this is still important to you now, keep working on rebuilding those relationships. Or, you may have realized it’s time to move on.
Resolutions are more like suggestions compared to a strict script. If you reached the goal of stepping out of your comfort zone, being more sociable, or simply showing someone you’re thinking about them, your small step has served its purpose.
As you consider your resolutions for this new year, you may want to go bit by bit before you bite off more than you can chew. You’ll experience motivating gradual progress as you reach your goals.
Make It Personal
Your resolutions are yours and yours alone. There’s no “resolutions committee” to choose what you do, how you behave, or hold you accountable. You have nothing to prove, and none of it has to be public.
Self-efficacy is the belief one has in themselves to carry out tasks, meet challenges, and complete goals. It doesn’t have to be based on your past actions, and there is always room to demonstrate your determination. With a new year around the corner, embrace the encouragement that can only come from within.
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