I LOVE New Year’s Eve!! Although honestly I’m not a fan of the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. I know that might sound odd, coming from a therapist who encourages and embraces change.

The thing is, every year, around February or so, I find myself witnessing my clients’ disappointments, criticisms, punishment of themselves when they don’t manage to stick to their resolutions. It’s tough to watch actually. And in all honesty I’ve done it myself too!

resolutions expectations

Most of us break our resolutions during the year – some (a minority) of us last to June. How do we make it stick??

There seem to be common problems with New Years Resolutions

  • Too ambitious
  • Too unrealistic
  • Too punishing
  • Too thankless
  • Too rigid

What makes a good resolution?

A good resolution is one that is grounded in self-love and acceptance I reckon. We are more likely to succeed if we are rewarded, ideally on a daily basis, for making our resolution. Whatever the change we resolve to make, there simply has to be something in it for us. Something we benefit from  – and soon!

There is no point in doing something for long-term gain unless we give ourselves short-term rewards for it. If we stop buying cigarettes – awesome!! And to reward ourselves we need to save the money in a visible place where we see the cash piling up, or buy something instead that we love, or do something instead that we get a kick out of. The long-term benefits of not smoking are huge of course. But our brains want short-term noticeable kick-backs.

Sacrifice ain’t fun. And too many of our resolutions are about NOT doing things that we have learned – healthy or otherwise – to love.

recipe for resolutions

The Alternative

Instead of a list of “Things I’m giving up” – try a list of “Things I’m giving to me!” (Because you’re lovely, and you deserve them).

  1. I’ll give myself more fulfilling feelgood contact by watching less TV and spending less time on social media.
  2. When I go online or watch TV, I’ll watch with a critical eye: I’ll question the ads and the messages they are sending out. I’ll notice all the things designed to make me feel scared and ugly. Then I’ll decide whether or not I want to buy into that. And I’ll teach my kids to do the same.
  3. I’ll call friends a little more for fun, or to get support.
  4. I’ll stop apologising unnecessarily and telling people I’m stupid or useless in casual conversation. It’s not true – and it’s not funny!
  5. I’ll whine less. Instead, I’ll complain more to people who can help me change things I WAS going to complain about.
  6. I’ll be nice to my body.
  7. I’ll be at least as compassionate to myself as I am to my partner/friend/child.
  8. I’ll make time for me, even if only 5 minutes a day. I’ll use it to relax, eat a favorite treat, listen to a favorite song, I get to decide!
  9. I’ll hang out more with people I like and who are nice to me. Less with the others…
  10. When I forget to do these things, I won’t use it as a weapon against myself, I’ll just give IT another go!!


These are my suggestions – what do you think? Have you more ideas on how to nurture YOU more this coming year? I welcome them all warmly – especially if they involve cheese, chocolate or beachwalks 😉

Wishing you all a very lovely 2018 – may it be brimming with awesome possibilities!