7 Ways to Create Meaningful Resolutions

2015 is officially coming to a close, and the New Year brings a sense of hope, optimism and possibility. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to watch the end of the year recaps in the news and with music, movies, and pop-culture, to summarize the notable events of the year.

This recap of worldly events inspires me to reflect on the significant and memorable events in my life this past year. I tend to be nostalgic at heart, and the close of the year provides an opportunity to reflect on the passing of time categorizing the personal and family highlights, struggles and accomplishments.

Some of my highlights included watching my daughters find activities they love and enjoy, dancing, singing and art, seeing my older girls settle into middle school, it was a bit of a roller coaster for all of us! Professionally, becoming a contributing writer for Mothering.com, having my writing featured on Today Parenting Team and probably the highlight, having Don Miguel Ruiz, an admired author of mine for quite some time, tweet one of my posts from this blog. All good things. But there have been struggles as well, recovering from shoulder surgery, saying goodbye to our beloved cat Ruby, and coping with the stress that comes from being a mother, wife, and psychologist; things we all experience in daily life.

Taking the time to reflect on events in my life not only increases gratitude, but it also helps to highlight what I have endured, overcome and accomplished this past year. After taking the time to reflect on the year, I can more easily choose a resolution to focus on that is meaningful and something I want to work on instead of something I feel I “should” make a resolution on.

Here are some questions to reflect on about your recap of 2015:

  • What was your favorite memory or event from the year?
    Break down each memory into the categories meaningful to you: yourself perhaps professionally and personally, for your family and children, friends, etc. 
  • What did you learn about yourself this past year?
  • What has been your greatest personal accomplishment this past year?
  • Was there a situation or event that forced you to make changes, re-evaluate priorities, or grow emotionally or spiritually in ways you never anticipated? If so, list as many as you experienced.
  • What situation or event happened that caused you to grow in ways you could never have imagined?
  • Is there a regret you have about the past year?
    If you said yes to this questions, then chances are there is an ” I wish I had…,” or, ” If only…” underneath the regret. Ask yourself this, ” What have I learned from this regret? If I could go back, what would I do differently?” Then take a deep breath and forgive yourself and make a commitment to learning from this regret to move forward.
  • Is there a goal or dream you want to work on that seemed challenging this past year but you want to work on in 2016?
  • Is there a situation, relationship or event that continues to bother you? If so, what do you need to do with this situation to move forward emotionally and spiritually into the next year?

Spending time reflecting on your personal recap provides focus on what, if any, resolutions to make. Ok, now let’s shift into some of the most common resolutions made in order of popularity:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Improving Finances
  4. Enjoy Life
  5. Becoming Fit and Healthy
  6. Learn Something New
  7. Quit Smoking
  8. Help Others
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend More Time with Family

Now go back and look at your personal recap of the year. Do you see a goal or resolution you would like to work on for the New Year? If so, your resolution may be personalized to you versus one of the typical resolutions mentioned above. The purpose of making a resolution is to find a meaningful goal to accomplish instead of feeling pressure to chose a resolution just because of the new calendar year.

Here are seven steps to making a resolution successful:
1. Reflect on the Past Year. Spend some time thinking about the past year, using the questions at the beginning of this post to figure out what if anything, you want to improve.
2. Pick a Resolution. Chose a resolution that is meaningful to you, not something you think you “should” do. Hopefully, your recap list has helped you to highlight your accomplishments and find areas to strengthen.
3. Take a Focused Approach. Start with one resolution-not a complete overhaul of your life. Making too many goals can feel overwhelming, and it can be difficult to focus your energy when you have too many resolutions to accomplish. Start with one resolution and then build upon it as time progresses.
4. Be Specific. When defining a resolution, be specific. A resolution to be “more happy” is broad and hard to measure in daily life. A resolution to create more happiness by writing in a gratitude journal every Saturday and planning weekly events or activities that increase your happiness helps to make sure your goals are accomplished.
5. Schedule and Plan. Plan and schedule your resolutions. As mentioned above, don’t just talk about your goals, put them on your calendar and make them happen.
6. Evaluate After 2 Weeks. After two weeks re-evaluate the resolution you have made. Have you been able to work towards your goal or have you only made an effort a couple of times? If you have no momentum, chances are your resolution may be too broad or not be the best resolution now. Keep in mind, one month after the New Year, only 64% of people who made resolutions keep them.
7. Let It Go or Keep Going. If after a month you haven’t kept your resolution, give yourself permission to let go of the resolution or chose another one. If you have been successful with your goal, after a month, you may way to add another resolution and keep the momentum going with your new accomplished goal.

WIshing you happiness, health and accomplished goals in the New Year!

© Copyright Dr. Claire Nicogossian 2015



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