New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year when we’re about to make all sorts of New Year’s Resolutions.  Save more.  Quit drinking.  Eat healthier.  Stop smoking.  Spend time with family.  Attend church regularly.  Get a new job.  Take a vacation.  Make that change you’ve been wanting.

So, on December 31st or maybe January 1st we all do it.  The ideas seem great, the commitment is there, the holidays are over and it’s time to get moving!  Since no one makes “bad” resolutions (eat too much this year, gain weight, start smoking!) what is it that keeps these good ideas from sticking?

When I work on goal setting with clients, which is what resolutions really are – goals, the one thing that is typically lacking is resonance.  If you’re not familiar with the term, let me explain.

At, one of the many definitions of resonance is “richness or significance, especially in evoking an association or strong emotion”.  That’s what is lacking in so many of the goals we set or the resolutions we make – and subsequently break.

But what’s so important about resonance in changing our habits?  The resolutions are good ideas.  Everyone knows that.  So what keeps us from actually succeeding in our resolutions?  Let’s look a little deeper.

Eating healthier is a good idea.  Most everyone would agree with that.  So why do we go to the local grocery and buy products laden with high fructose corn syrup, tons of sugars, and artificial everything?  Part of the answer is habit – that’s what we usually buy, that’s what we put on the list, that’s what we eat, and that’s what we “like”.  Part of the answer is that we’ve grown accustomed to eating these foods.  Changing what we buy and what we claim we like to eat could be tough without a significant reason.

Understanding your motivation for wanting change is critical to finding resonance.  Ask yourself, “What’s important about eating healthier?”  A few reasons might pop into your mind including, weight loss and feeling better.

Now ask yourself “What’s important about feeling better?”  Again, a few things might pop into your mind such as being happier or having more energy.  If you ask yourself “What’s important about that?” you’ll begin to get to the real reasons that eating healthier is important and resonant.

Eating healthier because it’s a good idea will only last so long.  (Probably from the first of January until the Superbowl parties at the end of the month!)

Real reasons.  Resonance.  When you find real reasons why making changes in your life brings “richness or significance, especially in evoking an association or strong emotion”, you’re on your way to making lasting change.

Finding resonance in any goal you set – personally or professionally, shared or kept to yourself – will give you drive when the going gets tough and old habits start to pop up.  Chips and snack cakes at the grocery, or feeling better and having more energy?

If you want to find resonance with the changes you’d like to make, let’s talk.  The “new you” lies ahead in the new year!

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About the Author:

Dan Gabbert holds a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from Avila University in Kansas City, MO. Dan is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Certified Sex Addictions Therapist (CSAT), a rigorous certification issued by The International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). Dan is also trained in EMDR, a therapeutic technique used for treating trauma and PTSD, and Internal Family Systems (IFS) a very effective approach to therapy and treating trauma and addictions.