Happy New Year! Here at the start of a fresh new season, we can’t help but look towards our future. What will this new year hold for us? What changes are in store? Where will be we a year from now? This tends to be the time of year when we make resolutions and goals. We optimistically resolve to throw out our bad habits and strengthen our good ones. Here are three key reflection questions to help you make New Year’s resolutions you can achieve.
How is stress impacting my behaviour?
The more stressed you are, the less resilience you have and the harder it becomes to self-regulate. When I was dealing with burnout, all the healthy fences I built internally to protect myself from over-indulging became wobbly. One glass of wine became three, I felt thirsty for alcohol like feeling parched on a hot day. I’d want to eat even when I was full. As you make your resolutions, reflect on your buoyancy levels. How stressed are you? Are you using these resolutions to add or to relieve stress?
Why do I want to change?
Let’s say you have a bad habit: you eat too much junk food. You can’t help it! You order a big burger every time you go out, you love stopping at drive-throughs and you always have a coke with your meal. This year you want to make a change. When you make your resolution, instead of focusing on turning all your bad habits into good ones; burgers into salads, drive though into trail mix, coke to water, consider why you crave junk food in the first place. Often people form bad habits to comfort themselves, to avoid feelings, or because they don’t value their well-being. Try centering your new year’s resolutions on why you want to change, rather than how. Getting to the root issues will have longer impacts and raise your own personal awareness.
Where do my impulses control me?
There is a misconception within Christianity (and about Christianity) that all of our impulses are bad, something to ignore and crush. Truthfully, impulses aren’t always wrong. They are a normal and healthy part of our humanity. God created us wonderfully, and our hormones and desires are part of our design. What we need to practise is not ignoring all impulses, but moderating them and understanding when our impulses control us, rather than the other way around.
These three reflections can empower you to make New Year’s resolutions you can achieve.