New Year´s Resolutions (NYRs) that Stick

| December 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

by Mrs. Freud

Again, another young and fresh year inspires us to a better version of ourselves: Happier, lighter, nicer, richer, healthier… The possibilities are endless. Wanting to change for the better is a great thing, and certainly doable. But are there items on your list that have been there year, after year, after year? Maybe it is even the same list altogether. If any holdovers exist, there is a problem. My job is to support people with change, with being their own best version, but most of all, with finding fulfillment and centeredness in their lives. Reoccurring items on the New Year’s resolution (NYR) list are damaging to our wellbeing. It hurts the respect we have for ourselves. It often makes us feel like a failure, and influences how we show up for the world.

Habit changes are best not to be attempted solely with will power. Unfortunately, it is the common procedure. Why not, you might wonder. It is because you – and all of us – eventually run out of it. Failure is almost certain, predictable even when we are still in the beginning phase for enthusiasm and seeing first great results. What else can we use instead? I recommend loving-kindness towards ourselves. Take for example weight loss: As long as our body or certain parts are the enemy (e. g. the belly), it will not be a successful collaboration towards weight loss. Even if we lose weight by fighting all the way (which equals will power), we don´t keep it off. I dare you to not put weight loss on your NYR list if it has been on it for the last two years or more. Pick something else instead that does not start with “I should…” The “I should” shows that you are not ready for it at this point. The level of taking responsibility necessary to achieve the goal is not there (yet). Put things on your list that come with an excited “I want” instead.

In case you can´t imagine not having something as a goal for 2014, commit to it and do what it takes (which is not will power alone). If we stick with the example of weight loss: allot some time to spend with the topic. There are free online tracking programs for food intake as well as exercise; join a gym and put a buddy system in place, so you won´t bow out so easily, and it is more fun. Get the support of a life coach who will help you identify the true triggers and reasons for not achieving the goal. All you need to bring is the strong desire and commitment to make that change.

Another word about loving-kindness towards ourselves: In order to achieve a goal, we need to come from a centered and present position, and as highly and positively energized as possible. It also means, we accept where we are at and take full responsibility. It sustains us throughout the process of goal achievement. Will power, instead, is good when engaged for moments at a time and not the sole carrier of a plan to change a habit.

This year, make a good start. Ditch the phase of disappointment and failure (usually right around February). Instead, make a gratitude list (which is one of the proven techniques to get in an ideal mindset for change). Name things that work well in your life, dreams that have come true, achievements made.

Whatever you put on your NYR list, I wish you a good 2014! Enjoy the freedom to decide what you want to see more of in your life and then enjoy making it happen. Find more on NYR on my blog, or send me an e-mail at:

Sabine Starr is a psychologist licensed in Vienna, Austria, currently living and working in Mission Hills. She has written numerous articles for professional psychology journals. For further information, visit and follow her blog at

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