Moving from Resolution to Genuine Change. . .


A lot of us made New Year’s resolutions this past weekend – we screwed up our courage and said out loud (if only to ourselves) that we’re going to do better in the coming year.  We promised ourselves we’ll eat better, exercise more, be kinder to ourselves and others, stop procrastinating, save more money, earn more money…we promised ourselves all sorts of things!

But our track record on moving from New Year’s resolution to genuine change in our lives over the course of the year is solidly one of defeat.  Most of us don’t keep to our resolutions much beyond the first week of the year and we notoriously abandon our shiny-new gym memberships by the end of February.  We’re not very good at creating genuine change, and that’s understandable because, Change is Hard!

The New Year is a fine time to adopt change – sometime just changing the date gives us fresh energy for desiring change but it takes more than a desire to alter your habits and invite real change into your life, here’s some tips on making your resolutions into actual movement toward the change you wish for in your life:

  • Make your declaration of change about the ACTION you will take, not the outcome you hope to achieve.  Outcomes are often not in our control, but ACTIONS are – we choose what we will or won’t DO. 
  • Be clear about where this action fits into your priorities.  We arrange our priorities to get the things that matter most to us DONE.  So, as you choose the action(s) you want to take, also determine what priority they can have in your daily life!
  • Turn those ACTIONS into SMART goals.  SMART stands for:
  • SPECIFIC – what exactly are you going to do that’s different from your usual?
  • MEASURABLE – how will you know if/when you’ve achieved the goal?
  • ACTION-ORIENTED – name what you’ll be DOING! 
  • REALISTIC – honestly matched to your current capabilities!
  • TIME-ORIENTED – know WHEN you plan to make time for this goal!

So, if you made the resolution: “I’m going to exercise more this year!”

It might look like this if you turned it into a SMART goal. . .

  • I will exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times each week.
  • I will accomplish this by participating a class at the recreation center every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Now you know WHAT you plan to do, WHEN you plan to do it, WHERE you plan to do it and it will be simple to audit your calendar each week to see WHETHER you do it with the regularity you intended. Remember, it isn’t about PERFECTIONit is about holding yourself accountable for the choices you make!

Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!

Once you see how easy or hard your SMART goal is to carry out, you can adjust your plan accordingly.  

    • Was it EASY? Maybe in February, you can up your game and add a different class or a new form of exercise.  
  • Was it DIFFICULT? Maybe you can adjust your self-expectations and start with two days a week as your start-up goal, remember you want to be realistic!

What else can you do to make your resolutions stick?  You might also write a number of sub-goals that help you get to the big SMART goal you set for yourself. If you had written the exercise goal above, you might add sub-goals like. . .

    • Establishing a membership at the recreation center, so you’re good to go next week!
    • Pack your work-out bag & put it in the car, so there are no excuses when it’s class time.
    • Put your water bottle in the car too, to remind you of your M/W/F commitment.
  • Find a friend who also wants to take these classes, a buddy will add accountability!

You get the gist.  Helping yourself move from idea to action is what is key here! You can see how each of these steps leads you to success in the over-arching goal.  

Without this kind of detailed planning, most of us let go of our good intentions and simply drift back to our old habits.  Change requires effort, but if the change is important, especially for your health, it is worth taking the time to plan for a successful outcome!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

Recent Posts

Woman enjoying the scenery on her road trip

Taking Advantage of a Long, Holiday Weekend. . .

Even as Americans discuss the advantages of the four-day work-week, thanks to Representative Mark Takano, D-Calif., who introduced legislation which, if it passes, would reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours instead of 40, we’re also working more hours than ever.

The Guardian reports that compared with other countries, the American workplace record is not good. “In 2021, American employees worked 184 more hours than Japanese workers, 294 more hours than British workers, and 442 more hours than German workers. Unbelievably, in 2023 there are millions of Americans who work at jobs with no vacation time” (The Guardian).

Read More →
You'll never walk alone song lyrics

You’ll Never Walk Alone. . .

Since its first recording, by Frank Sinatra in 1945, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has been reinterpreted by many musicians, perhaps most recently by Josh Groban in 2015. Its lyrics are formed by a relatively short, 17-line poem, written as a song by Rogers & Hammerstein for musical Carousel.

This song reminds me so much of the nature of my work – certainly, when clients come to me they often feel VERY alone and completely overwhelmed by the caregiver roles they fill. This is true whether they are parents of a special-needs-child or the sole caregiver for a spouse with dementia. That sense of being alone is, in itself, depressing.

Read More →
Women running past finish line at marathon

Measuring Progress Can Help. . .

I’m working with a Health Coach myself (yes, even coaches need coaches!) who seems to appreciate my need to measure things. I’m one of those people who likes to see measurable improvement – to choose metrics that allow me to demonstrate progress, if not full completion, of a goal.

Sometimes, especially if we’re working on goals that feel particularly difficult, it can be important to at least see movement in the desired direction. Most of us can appreciate the fulfillment of getting to the finish line of a quick sprint, like the 100-yard-dash. But when you’re in a marathon you need benchmarks along the way to remind you that you’re actually doing it, and that the end will come, even if you can’t see it from your current spot on the route. That’s where metrics come in handy!

Read More →
How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.

How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.