While the approaching New Year marks a time for making resolutions and preparing for a new start, something else should be taking place in addition to planning ahead.
Before making New Year’s resolutions, I always encourage people to do a “Success Audit” for the previous year. There is nothing wrong with making resolutions (aside from the fact that some people treat the process as a frivolous ritual that ultimately has to end in failure). In fact, I’m currently offering a personal training course on our website designed to lead to successfully keeping resolutions.
I do believe, however, that resolutions should be made from a position of strength that builds your level of self-esteem and confidence. This increases your belief in yourself and your ability to follow through in keeping resolutions and successfully changing behavior.
A great way of building emotional strength is through the Success Audit – essentially an inventory of your successes during the previous year.
I have worked with thousands of patients over the course of my lengthy career, and many had been diagnosed as being depressed. Despite the diagnosis, I have never treated one individual who was unable to identify some past successes. Admittedly, I’ve sometimes had to stubbornly push some people to come up with something rather than accepting “no” for an answer.
When you do your own Success Audit, don’t allow yourself to get away with lazy thinking. Don’t look for successes and come up empty-handed. Successes don’t have to be earth shaking. Small successes in your family or on the job are important to notice, as are small kindnesses to others or learning a new skill or developing a healthier habit. And if you kept a resolution that you made at the beginning of the year, that definitely qualifies.
Try it, and you’re likely to be surprised to realize how successful you have been.
End the year by appreciating your successes. If that is part of your thinking process, then the resolutions that you make for the coming year will be an extension of a more positive mindset. It will enhance your chances of achieving a positive 2013.
Happy New Year!