Steven Losardo, LMFT

It was November 28th, 2014, or Black Friday 2014, and somehow, I got an internal nudge to begin my 2015 New Year’s Resolution (NYR). Looking for any excuse to avoid shopping, I decided to stay home to review what drives me to sign up for NYRs each year, NYR planning, and benefits to even having resolutions. First, I reviewed my 2014 “highlights.”

⦁ Despite my good intentions to make the change life-sustaining, my NYR lasted 15 days.
⦁ The brief outcomes were evident to others; however, they still did not seem to stick.
⦁ “More pressing issues” took precedence.
⦁ During the 2014 selection, I forgot about my limitations, exceptions, and other relevant information such as having a maximum NYR commitment stamina of 30 days.

The Review of NYR Drivers

I realized that I needed to act before December 31st as each year I would automatically re-enroll myself into the same inefficient NYR scenario as prior years. Knowing my past NYRs carry loads of missteps I desired my 2015 bid for change to be different, maybe even extraordinary! Being motivated came with some positive indicators from previous attempts highlighting how 2015 could be different. I note two of these below.

⦁ My days seem centered around mostly tedious work and life requirements, and I needed some excitement. In the past, I knew my NYRs met me right there, if only for a brief time. NYRs offered excitement not only through an opportunity to gain fulfillment but also in the risk of failure.
⦁ Each year in that short 15-30 day window, NYRs also removed some identity confusion. They aligned me more closely with something I was passionate about resulting in less stress and regret (Ahn, Dik, and Hornback 2017).

Getting Past Prior Inefficient Experiences

⦁ First, I asked myself, “I wonder what it might be like to be known for something more significant than a job title?”
⦁ Answer: Regardless of my role, I desire to be known for how I love others and how they are better off after we meet. That hit home!
⦁ I found an inspirational quote by Vince Lombardi to serve as my mantra. “While it is true that the difference between [each of us] is in energy, in the strong will, in the settled purpose and the invincible determination, the new leadership is in sacrifice, it is in self-denial, it is in love and loyalty, it is in fearlessness, it is in humility, and it is in the perfectly disciplined will. This, [women and men], is the distinction between great and little men [and women].”
⦁ Less is More: Instead of having several NYRs, I chose to focus on one purpose the entire year. Although unattainable, I did this while striving for perfection.
⦁ I used S.M.A.R.T. Goals from Cothran and Wysocki (2012) to make the target Specific, Measurable, Attainable Relevant, and Timebound.
⦁ Accountability: I found a person that cheers me on with support while also encouraging me to maintain proper perspective. Meanwhile, this mentor helped me uncover some of the “voices” that can unconsciously guide me away from success (Walsh, 2015; Wicks, 2010).
⦁ I had a relapse recovery plan in place highlighting all the known ways this may not work, otherwise known as my cul-de-sac of inefficiency.
⦁ Pass it on! Before beginning, I decided to pass on my experience to someone else. Knowing I would be doing this added more stake in the game.

Key Benefits

⦁ Resiliency: A new approach gave me the opportunity to respond differently to failure and stand by my commitment. In the process, I was developing a skill set that was psychologically, physically, relationally, and systemically relevant (Walsh, 2015).
⦁ Accountability reminded me that to make change happen and be sustainable, I need support. This also deepened the skill of identifying and involving someone who is safe.
⦁ I began developing a new skill in utilizing planning, strategy, and support. Today, this process is repeatable and still in use in other areas of my life.
⦁ Others will benefit from my experience.

Finally, if you did not notice, I left out what the actual resolution was for 2015. A part of me is not ready to be that vulnerable in my blogs just yet. NYR 2019, here I come!

References

  • Ahn, J., Dik, B. J., & Hornback, R. (2017). The experience of career change driven by a sense of
    calling: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach. Journal of Vocational
    Behavior, 102, 48-62.
  • Cothran, H. M., & Wysocki, A. F. (2012). Developing SMART goals for your organization.
    Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  • Walsh, F. (2016). Strengthening family resilience, 3 rd ed., Guilford press: New
    York, New York.
  • Wicks, R. J. (2010). Bounce: Living the resilient life. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.