This Year WILL Be Different: Setting New Year’s Resolutions

Why oh why do we make New Year’s Resolutions that we can’t keep?   How can we set goals and accomplish them?  If you are considering setting resolutions for 2011, I challenge you to think outside the box and keep a few points in mind.

(1)    Include well-rounded goals that target external and internal well-being…for a healthier body, mind, and spirit.

We often limit ourselves to external and behavioral goals.  The most popular resolutions include starting to exercise (37%), eating better (13%), and reducing the consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs, or quitting smoking (7%), according to Miller and Marlatt’s 1998 study as cited by John Grohol of  How about starting with internal and interpersonal goals that will help you feel healthier emotionally or within the community, such as forgiveness of self and others, volunteering, or environmentally conscience goals?  Another example is to be a kinder friend to yourself.  Our brains are designed to think, which easily leads to over-thinking or negative thinking.  If you strive to be mindful of the thoughts that arise and be more positive and encouraging internally, other goals will become easier, you will feel happier, and most likely be kinder to others.

(2)    Set specific and realistic goals.

An article in the Miami Herald in January 2010 reported that 97% of New Year’s Resolutions are never fulfilled (Hardy).  Although your self-confidence could blossom with achievement of running a marathon when you’ve never run a day in your life, it’s best to build your self-esteem at a slower more realistic pace.   As you meet initial goals, they can also be re-evaluated and amended to challenge you more.  For example, you could begin with a goal of running 1 x wk for 15 minutes and revise it in a couple of months to 2 x wk for 30 minutes.

(3)    Find an accountability partner.

At a New Year’s party a few years ago, my friend gave us all a piece of paper and pen and instructed us to write down our Resolutions.  She then gave us each an envelope, asked us to seal our lists in the envelope, and address it to ourselves, explaining that she would mail us our resolutions at the end of the year to help us remind ourselves of our goals and evaluate our accomplishments.  I thought it was a wonderful and creative idea, although it could have been even more effective if we followed up with each other throughout the year to encourage one another in our goals.

(4)    Avoid procrastination.

12 months, 365 days is a looooong time to achieve your resolutions.  It is so easy to procrastinate and wait until tomorrow.  Another inspirational friend shared with me a quote by Dr. Alan Watts, a Zen philosopher: “The past is a memory…The future, an expectation.  Neither past nor future actually exist…There is simply eternal now.”   The more mindful we can be of each and every moment, the more we realize how much power is available right now.  Why wait?…Start now!

(5)    Consider your motivation for your goals…who are you trying to impress?

Are you trying to lose weight to impress your spouse?  Or are you trying to eat healthier just for the children’s sake?  Granted, parents need to be mindful that they are constant role models for their children, and if children see that mom or dad is eating healthier because he/she FEELS better, they will want to do the same.

(6)    Include your children.

Help your children set realistic goals with these same principles in mind.  It can also be beneficial to schedule a family resolution meeting/party where you brainstorm goals as a family.  This will build family relationships, responsibility, and self-esteem through goal accomplishment.

Best wishes as you welcome 2011! :)


Grohol, John M. December 28, 2008. The Psychology of New Year’s Resolutions. Retrieved online:

Hardy, Jack.  January 4, 2010. New Year’s Resolutions Are Useful, Even When They Fail. Retrived online:

Miller, E.T. & Marlatt, G.A. (1998). How to Keep Up with Those New Year’s Resolutions: Researchers Find Commitment Is the Secret of Success.



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About Kimberly Rodgers, LCSW, RPT-S

Kimberly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Florida and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor through the Association for Play Therapy. She also supervises clinical social work interns pursuing licensure. She has worked as a psychotherapist for twelve years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia and Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida.

Her experience includes foster care, adoption, youth shelter, youth related research, school-based counseling, and sexual assault crisis center settings prior to private practice. She specializes in counseling children, families, and adults struggling with stress, anxiety, trauma, and adjustment to life transitions. Kimberly is a current Board member of the Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida and former Vice-President of the Southwest Florida chapter of the Association for Play Therapy. She is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers and EMDR International Association.

Kimberly is founder of Monarch Wellness (originally Monarch Therapy), an integrative center focused on empowering individuals and families through emotional and behavioral metamorphosis. In addition to counseling and play therapy, the center offers other supportive modalities to further enhance emotional healing and stress management including support groups, yoga, laughter yoga, breathwork, integrative relaxation, and sound therapy. Monarch Wellness' sister site offers health related information and inspiration for everyday families to live healthier every day. The center is also involved with House of Gaia community center and other community and service focused organizations. More information about Kimberly and her practice can be found online:

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