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Time to Tweak Your New Year’s Resolutions

by Rosa Dominguez

Every year, millions of people look back at the goals they set for the New Year and see where they fell short. Many people make resolutions at the beginning of the year, fall short in reaching them, and then beat themselves up when they get ready to go into the next year. One personal development coach says that’s the wrong way to go about improving your life, and she offers a whole new “zoom out” approach to successful transformation.

“We often get in the habit of just setting goals, not reaching them, and then being hard on ourselves as we set them again the following year,” explains Katie Sandler, personal development and career coach. “This year, do yourself a favor and take a whole new approach. My approach helps people make an impact and finally become unstuck.”

According to a study published in the journal PLoS One, most of the goals people set each January focus on physical health, weight loss and eating habits. Their large-scale study finds that one year later, 55 percent feel they were successful with the goals they had set, and that there were two things that helped them be more successful. 

The first thing was having approach-oriented goals, rather than avoidance-oriented ones. In other words, instead of making the goal to completely avoid something, people are more successful if they have a proactive way to approach it that is healthier and more manageable.

Second, those who had some kind of support were significantly more successful compared to those who did not. That support can be in the form of a group, friend or personal development coach. When you have someone who can help keep you motivated and mindful, it goes a long way toward achieving goals and dreams.

Sandler’s approach involves looking back over the last year, but not in an effort to look at shortcomings or beat yourself up. Instead, it’s about viewing your life from a distance, seeing what you’d like to change, and then visualizing what you want your life to be like. 

Here are the steps to Sandler’s “zoom out” approach to planning for the New Year:

  • Get a journal and set aside time for personal reflection.
  • Get perspective by zooming out and viewing your life over the last year. To do this, visualize that you are watching your life in a movie reel. Observing from a distance will give you a chance to be objective.
  • Ask yourself questions and write the answers in your journal. Ask yourself how the last year felt, what it meant to you, if there is a misalignment in what you see and what you want, what feels good and right, what needs to shift to be more aligned with what you want, and what you want the coming year to look like.
  • As you perform this exercise, strive to be objective and mindful, but be gentle with yourself. If there are things you didn’t like that’s okay, this is the time to put them in the spotlight so there can be a shift. Visualize how you want the next year to be and write it down.
  • With that visualization in mind, go into the New Year with a positive attitude, moving your life in the direction that you want it to be. Be gentle with yourself and just keep moving forward.

“A new year is the perfect time for reflection and transformation,” says Sandler. “When you do this, you will have a visualization of what you want your life to be like and that can help make it happen. By zooming out you gain a different perspective about yourself and it can be powerful in helping with self-transformation.”

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