Whether you had a great year with your partner or not, or perhaps things fell apart for you at the end of the year, it's never too late to make one change or two for the new year. The concept of change and a blank slate is what appeals to many of us during this time of year. The old year is gone with its hardships and a new year is fresh on the horizon. This sense of positivity and hope is essential to start a new year. So why is it so hard for us to stick to new year resolutions? This short answer is that it all depends on the prep work.
If you're an artist or enjoy handcrafting things, you'll probably understand this example very well. The finished product (a painting, a polished car, a wooden cabinet, etc) will always reflect the small steps that went into it before it was ready to start. Paint sticks on way better when the canvas is blank and likewise, resolutions stick better to us when we free ourselves of thoughts that keep us stuck in old habits. So the following list are small steps to prep ourselves for making resolutions and sticking with them.
It's always a good thing to look at ourselves, good and bad habits, and take time to understand these aspects of us. This reflective practice is step one in our prep work. It can help us to understand ourselves better, improve our relationship with others, and feel better about ourselves in the long term. When we take time to reflect on who we were or what we accomplished or not in this past year, we have a clear picture of where we want to be. By doing this we are better prepared for making changes. Furthermore, it's not only our experiences, but also our interpretation of our experiences that make up who we are. Finding a positive way to interpret our experiences in the past year is another step in our prep work. Lastly, when we can integrate the things we have experienced in this year into our identity then we have allowed ourselves to resolve what we did or did not accomplish this past year. Now we can be open to new resolutions.These steps of reflecting, interpreting, and integrating then contribute to making resolutions that we will stick with.
I would also encourage making resolutions that are positively stated and specific. Negatively stated resolutions suggest a deficit (losing something) whereas positive resolutions suggest gaining something, and this really does make all the difference. Broad resolutions are too easily forgotten or pushed aside because the results do not come fast enough. So make specific resolutions that you can achieve in a short time, and build on these small resolutions to contribute to a larger cause. All in all, be positive with yourself and you will find yourself better suited to resolve things in time.