Resolutions for the New Year and Beyond

by Barbara Barnes


Happy New Year! What resolutions will you have for 2019? Lose weight? Stop smoking? Eat more vegetables? Begin a regular exercise routine? Create a budget? Cut back on work? Take more vacations? “Really, truly, I mean it this time” purge those over-stuff ed closets and drawers?

According to a study published recently in U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week in February. By February! Th at’s not the most encouraging statistic. And one could even say the “odds are against you.”

The most common resolutions are about diet, nutrition and health. Second-most common are resolutions concerning down time, leisure and managing or organizing clutter.

While no one disputes these are all good things to resolve, why do they fail so oft en and so quickly? Resolutions we commonly make generally fall in the category of lifestyle management. Changes in our lifestyle require a plan, resolve and goals. It is relatively easy to read a plan outlining the steps to achieve these resolutions: eat this, not that; get up 15 minutes earlier and stop at the gym on the way to work; etc., etc., etc.

However, for these resolutions to be both successful and long-lasting, the changes require determination, resilience, lots of support, encouragement and an attitude of hope and accomplishment.

Those qualities are diffi cult to hold onto if we also struggle with issues of low self-esteem, are easily demoralized or experience ongoing, unrelenting emotional pain.

So, below (from an article written by Guy Winch, PhD, in December, 2013) is a short list of possible resolutions to consider that address not just the short-term tangible goals we all desire, but the foundation for achieving and sustaining the lifestyle changes required for long term success:

Resolve to improve your self-esteem. Learn to embrace self compassion, acceptance and forgiveness.

Resolve to let go of worrying and rumination. Worry and brooding take time and energy away from what you would rather be thinking and doing.

Resolve to deal with and heal emotional pain. Perhaps this is the time to fi nally release the burdens of carrying old wounds and their consequences.

Resolve to emerge from loneliness. Putting ourselves out there to create supportive and sustaining friendships and activities is possible.

Resolve to improve your relationships. Putting energy into improving relationships that mean the most to us can have a dramatic positive impact on our health and well being.

Resolve to let go of guilt. Feeling guilty all of the time and trying to always be the ‘fixer’ stops us from moving forward.

Resolve to learn from mistakes and failures. Changing our beliefs and attitudes about mistakes builds resilience and encourages us to keep focused on the changes we desire.

Our emotional health and well-being is a critical part of the quality of our lives. In 2019, why not make your emotional health and well-being your number one priority? The resources are out there. Th ere are lots of things you can do. You won’t regret it and you will feel better for it.

Barbara Barnes, BSN/RN-Retired, MA/LMHC, owner of Lotus Heart

Therapy LLC, off ers therapy, consultation, groups and workshops.For more information or to contact Barbara, call 425-483-8463 or e-mail at