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Re-solve Again

It’s only February and I’ve failed at my News Year’s resolutions.

February is the new January. At least that’s what I always say. So if your New Year’s resolutions have gone down the drain, don’t sweat it. January 1st is an arbitrary date that we’ve arbitrarily stuffed with arbitrary meaning. We have to remember that the power of a resolution is in the resolve not the date.

So what if you’ve failed at your New Year’s resolution? Today is the perfect day—as good as any—to begin again. The key is to make sure that your resolution isn’t “today” dependent. Resolve is about becoming. Becoming is a constant process that happens in real time.

As you think about the rest of the year, concentrate more on values than goals. What are the qualities that make you who you are? What about the qualities that represent who you want to become? Consider declaring 2015 the “Year of _____”. Is it generosity? Creativity? Hope? Laughter? How would your year be different if you woke up thinking about the values you want to pursue rather than the activities you have to accomplish?

But if you are goal oriented, consider goals that are more based on outputs than outcomes. Is there a simple daily activity that will help you achieve a larger purpose? With roughly 315 days left in the year, resolve to complete that task 300 times. That way you can slack off a bit and still get it done. One of my goals is flossing. I have $3 worth of pennies in my bathroom to help me keep track. At the end of the day, you cannot control outcomes, only outputs.

If you’ve failed at your New Year’s resolutions, the first step is to give yourself a break. Getting sidetracked from your resolution isn’t a reason to give up your resolve. The second step is to focus on values and outputs more than goals and outcomes. When you’re successful, reward yourself. When you’re not, don’t sweat it. Choose resolve again today.

 

Zach Brittle is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in Seattle, WA where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is a Certified Gottman Therapist and author of the Relationship Alphabet. Follow him on Facebook at Zach Brittle, LMHC or on Twitter @kzbrittle.

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