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Skip the New Year’s Resolution

I’m no fan of New Year’s resolutions. Either they make people feel pressured to create a fresh start, or excited for that fresh start, only to be discouraged fairly soon after. They’re about turning a critical eye on yourself, rather than an appreciative one.

The truth is, change can be overrated. Maybe what you really need to do this year is a better job at accepting yourself and the life you already have.

Here’s how to start.1) Realize that there are things about your life that are already pretty damn good. List them.

Writing out your blessings makes them feel more real. And I mean with an actual pen and paper, not just on your phone. It makes a difference.

Those blessings can be other people; they can be qualities within yourself; they can be events. Think broadly about what’s worth appreciating.

2) By locating your gratitude, you’ll automatically lessen your deficits.

(And that’s without changing a thing!)

It’s all about perspective. Maybe what you need in the new year is not to be a different person but to look at yourself and others in a new way.

3) Cultivate resolve, rather than making a resolution.

A resolution is about targeting something specific, but having resolve is more global. Because whatever you need or want in this coming year, tenacity is likely to be essential.

To cultivate resolve, consider why resolutions often fail to work for you. It might be that you don’t truly want that outcome; you just think it’s expected. It might not be aligned with your true nature. Better to stop fighting yourself, and to recognize what’s really open to change.

Often people procrastinate because they’re afraid of failure. If they don’t get started, if they don’t try, then they can’t fail. It protects the ego.

But if you stop beating yourself up, you can embrace the process of trying and let go of the fear of failing.

Tell yourself that in 2016, it’s not about outcome; it’s about simply getting started, without the pressure. It’s about accepting yourself: for who you are, for your truest desires, and for the nobility of the attempt to achieve then, because then whatever happens is a success.

Blooming rose photo available from Shutterstock

Skip the New Year’s Resolution

Holly Brown, LMFT

Holly Brown is a marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay area. She has a private practice in Alameda ( ). She is also a novelist ( Her latest is HOW FAR SHE'S COME, a workplace thriller which received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly: "This provocative tale will resonate with many in the era of the #MeToo movement."

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APA Reference
Brown, H. (2016). Skip the New Year’s Resolution. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 12, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Jan 2016
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