So many of us start a new year fresh with hope and ideas for self-improvement. It can be useful to reflect on strategies to boost your likelihood of success, should you choose to make new year’s resolutions. First, keep it specific! Think of the acronym SAM, Specific Achievable Measurable. For example, don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Instead say, “I will reduce my sugar intake by half & workout for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week.”
Once you’ve clarified your top goals, then it’s time to go deeper. Many of us have defense mechanisms or ways we sabotage our best ideas. Fear of success, feeling unworthy, a belief in limitation, or fear of failure are common root causes of self-sabotage.
James Prochaska is a psychologist who wrote the book Changing for Good. In this approach, he asks us to consider the roadblocks we may face such as co-workers, from whom we derive social support, in the habit of going to restaurants for lunch that sabotages our diet. In this example, could we set clear boundaries and be content to eat a healthier lunch we pack? If we start to miss the social support, could we organize this group for another social event after hours or meet for coffee on the way in to work?
In other words, don’t let the challenges to meeting your new goals defeat your drive to make healthy new habits. Research shows it takes 30 to 60 days to form a new habit or overcome a bad habit such as smoking or binge use of alcohol. Looking at our internal or external motivation to succeed can be helpful in this change process. If you decide to work with a therapist on your life goals, give Dunham Counseling a call at (630) 799-0100.