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The New Year's Tweak

I, like probably many of you, have mixed feelings about New Year's resolutions. We often apply them to our counseling and therapy goals. The positives: they are made when we feel optimistic, and they feel fresh and motivating. The negatives: they're often way too comprehensive - a large, shiny, and impenetrable object - and in that way become unachievable. Save a large sum of money, lose X number of pounds, get better sleep, be less judgmental, have better relationships. Great goals, but you're then left with... how?

You've heard this before, but making your goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) is one way to make headway into your New Year's resolution.

In addition, I like to use what I call the New Year's tweak. One thing I like to ask my clients, after we've discussed ways to improve on what they're currently struggling with, is "how did that work for you?" Sometimes it's a new communication pattern between partners, or a new coping habit to break an old one, or a different internal script than the one they've been using. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn't. Everyone is different so this is inevitable. If it doesn't, then we examine what didn't go well and make a small shift to something that might work better. Test again.

Instead of "have better relationships," which could feel like a huge monolith in your path, try a tweak from what you're doing now. Maybe it's "reach out for coffee first" or "learn to apologize sooner." Instead of "be better with money," maybe it's "buy one less coffee per week" or "don't take the toll roads to work." It feels obvious, but here's your reminder to be gentle with yourself in the aftermath of the holidays and to make realistic tweaks to move yourself toward the life that you want.

If you're ready to make some changes in your life with the fresh wind of the New Year at your back, let's get in touch.


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