A few years ago I stopped setting myself up for failure in creating a long list of resolutions that I probably wouldn’t complete. Not meeting the resolutions began to play with me emotionally because it felt as though I wasn’t able to be consistent.

Did I not want to reach the goals I set bad enough?

That wasn’t it.

Yes, each new year comes upon us with old adage of starting afresh, beginning anew. You want to change from what you did the previous year and try to start off with the positive mindset and the “I can do it” spirit. You think I’m your head “they say it takes 21 days to break a habit”. So that means by January 21st I should be good to go. Smooth sailing for the rest of the year.

Not at all!—at least for me.

This was the hamster wheel I would jump on and off of each year until I finally decided to quit making New Years Resolutions. No more lists saying ‘lose weight’, ‘cook more’, ‘save money’, and any other vague idea I could come up with.

Not again. I quit and I quit for good.

I now only focus on goals I want to achieve and it’s not about starting them on January 1st. My goals are living and evolving, but most importantly they are flexible. I lifted the rigidity I felt I was boxed in with the resolutions and placed my focus elsewhere.

This is how I set up my goals (you can replace goals with resolutions if it makes you feel better 😘)

My goals are divided into five categories:

  • personal goals

  • family, friends, and relationship goals

  • heart and spirit goals

  • financial goals

  • work and career goals

My life and all I want to do usually centers around these areas. Resolutions tend to center around these as well. I am still aligned with trying to push myself forward, but not doing it like everyone else. I may list two to three things under each category. But what works for me is that I place an accomplish by date beside each goal. I then go to my planner (I love using a planner that I can write in) and find the date that I wrote for the goal accomplish and write in the goal. Hence, I am working on the goal (i.e. resolution) all year with the hope of having it done by December 31st.

Sometimes I accomplish a lot, sometimes it’s a little, but I am okay either way. I couldn’t continue with the same old New Year’s Resolution way of doing things. That wasn’t functional for me and it didn’t make me feel good. So why do this to myself, make myself not feel good when I am in complete control?

I may list two to three things under each category. But what works for me is that I place an accomplish by date beside each goal. I then go to my planner (I love using a planner that I can write in) and find the date that I wrote for the goal accomplish and write in the goal. Hence, I am working on the goal (i.e. resolution) all year with the hope of having it done by December 31st.

Sometimes I accomplish a lot, sometimes it’s a little, but I am okay either way. I couldn’t continue with the same old New Year’s Resolution way of doing things. That wasn’t functional for me and it didn’t make me feel good. So why do this to myself, make myself not feel good when I am in complete control?

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Dr. Chemika Burkhalter, LCSW, MCLC

Dr. B is a licensed clinical therapist and a master certified life coach with a client-centered emphasis and a love for helping people navigate their way to the “aha” moment.