Sanctuary: Blog

New Year's Resolutions

Submitted by Joan Bender, Faculty, Sanctuary Institute


Support New Year's Resolutions with Self-Care Plans, Community Meetings and Safety Plans


It's that time of year again when we say good-bye to the past year, and look forward to the excitement and newness of the year ahead. It is a time when many of us participate in the ritual of the New Year's Resolution. As we reflect on the year that just passed, we think about all of the things that we would like to change about our lives or ourselves, and we set goals related to the changes we want to create. Often these goals involve changing our life style in some way. We commit to things like eating better, exercising, spending more time with family and friends or doing good deeds for others, just to name a few.

We start off excited about our resolutions, and share them with our family and friends. We're eager to get them going and jump in to changing our behavior full speed ahead. But if any of you are like me, in a few short weeks, you'll find yourself falling victim to your old ways, and before long you'll find that you are persecuting yourself for slacking off on your resolution.

This year, I've decided to break that reenactment, and decided that I'm going to use some of my Sanctuary tools to help me. I'm starting by revising my Self-Care Plan. Now I have my resolution written down, and I can use my Self-Care Plan to remind me. I've also kept my Self-Care Plan changes simple, and in small steps. When the brain experiences too much change, too quick, it gets stressed and wants to shift back to old behaviors. I'm hoping that by making small changes, practicing them over time and adding to them periodically, I will be more successful in maintaining those changes.

I'm also using my Safety Plan to manage any stress related to changing my behavior. I've revised my Safety Plan as well. I've added positive self talk and inspirational quotes, so that it can also be an inspirational tool, when I want to give up.

"Give up?!?!" I know, sometimes it is so hard to get motivated or maybe you're motivated, but you're just feeling really tired and worn out. You think that no one will know that you didn't exercise, or eat healthy or reach out to a friend today. That is, unless you have a structure in place to help support you. Social support is one of the greatest factors in successfully changing your behavior, and what better way to get social support than during Community Meeting. Enlist your friends or coworkers to help support you in your new year's resolutions with Community Meetings. You might even want to set up a daily Community Meeting with a group of friends or coworkers specific to your new year's resolutions and how you are all doing with them.

Happy New Year! Best wishes and much success with your resolutions. Are you using any Sanctuary tools to help you with your resolutions this year? If so, commit to social learning and share what you are doing. We'd love to hear from you.


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