New Year, New Focus

There are only a few days left until the beginning of 2020. How many of you have created New Years’ resolutions?

According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals, while around 80 percent fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions, says US clinical psychologist Joseph Luciani.

New Year’s resolutions last exactly this long

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever been one of the 8% who has achieved their goals, or are you always one of the 80% who picks an unattainable goal, don’t give themselves a real chance to succeed, aren’t serious about their will and desire to make a change, or just plain give up?

I’ve been in both camps.

When I was younger I made a resolution to get out of a bad relationship and also to lose the weight I had accumulated in that relationship. I kept my eye on the goal and lost both the dead weight holding me down and about sixty pounds. It felt amazing to focus and to keep my focus through the ups and downs and then to achieve my goals.

I have also been one of those people who decide to make big changes and get overwhelmed or lose motivation and give up before January is through. It’s easy to do and it is so commonplace that we don’t even bat an eye at it.

After making resolutions for thirty-something years, I know that they really don’t work for me. I’m not going to magically be a different person after midnight on January 1st.

Chances are if I make a snap resolution to make a big change like to never eat carbs again, I will wake up on the 1st and eat a doughnut or PopTart and realize afterwards that I’ve already failed what I’d set out to do.

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That’s why this year I’ve been carefully considering my life, the direction I want to take going forward towards my goals, how to be mindful about making positive changes and how to realistically achieve them in a way that will be obtainable. 2020 is going to be the year I spotlight my own self-care, health, and wellbeing, bu I am not waiting until the new year to make changes. I’ve already begun.

At Christmas, instead of eating second helpings of the wonderful meals, I ate small helpings of the foods I really wanted and didn’t eat other foods just to be nice or because it was there. Instead of gluttonously eating all the delicious goodies that my mother and mother-in-law baked, I limited myself to one slice of pie or one cookie. I didn’t munch and munch and think to myself that I’d change my snacking habits in January.

I have been stretching and doing yoga each morning and each night before climbing into bed. I have noticed a big difference in how tight my hips are, how much my backaches, and in my flexibility.

Each day I have been trying to use new ways to relax, quiet my anxiety, and lift my mood. I have made taking time out for myself a priority. I have given a few minutes of my time to read each night to wind down before bed. I now carry a thumb stone in my pocket and find it helpful to hold it and feel the smooth surface when I feel anxious. I have tried to listen to books while I work rather than to the current event or political podcasts that I enjoy- even though I enjoy them I have found that they tend to increase my stress and anxiety. During my lunch break, I am spending five minutes alone in my quiet office to meditate and center myself, which I have found had helped my patience and focus at work.

I’ve been taking time out each night for a daily reflection to consider my blessings and be grateful.

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Lastly, I’ve been trying to gradually increase my physical activity each day in an effort to exercise more and be healthier. Right now I have a sprained left ankle, so I am working around that, but I’m not disregarding my goal.

Have you made any New Years resolutions? Are you looking to make changes in the new year?


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