The Evolution of the New Year’s Resolution

Evolution of New Years resolution

Our first guest blogger post! We are pleased to share the writings of Elyssa Gersen-Thurman.

45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions and only 8% achieve them. As one year ends and another begins, I appreciate the opportunity to evaluate my goals and create new ones. In the past, I have made resolutions in a traditional manner by outlining a list of how I will exercise more, eat less sugar, meditate every day, etc. This year, I discovered some new methods for setting my intentions.Resolution new year

The first and simplest approach is the one word resolution as explained by Gretchen Rubin, a bestselling author on happiness and habits. Rather than listing out resolutions, she chooses a word for the year and this becomes the primary theme that guides her actions and behaviors. Here are some examples from her blog post: “Adventure, Renew, Energize, Bestow, Grace, Travel, Free, Rest, Finish.” I recently chose my own word after engaging in written reflection in my journal. I found it helpful to answer these questions from adventurer, author, and motivational speaker Alastair Humphreys. These 100 questions from mindbodygreen were also helpful. Once you discover your word, make it a prominent part of your life. Perhaps you can find photos that illustrate this theme or a poem or song that can guide you. Visualize what your life will become as you embody this one word resolution for the year.Just one word

If you want to go a step beyond one word or use a shorter path to finding a theme for the year, this resolutions sketchnote created by Sylvia Duckworth and featured on MindShift is perfect. She invites us to ask ourselves “2 things you do well and will continue to do; something you want to stop doing; 1 person you want to improve your relationship with; and 6 things you will do this year to step out of your comfort zone.” All of these numbers add up to 2016 and the visual is a delightful roadmap.


Last, but not least, I participated in a running streak at the end of 2015. My work friend created a challenge to run one mile a day that started on Thanksgiving and ended on December 31st. She generated a Facebook page where everyone could post if they ran each day and how they were feeling. I found the accountability and a community of supporters to be highly motivating. It reminded me of a few years ago when I started running again after a very long hiatus. I used Couch to 5K to get back into shape and posted every workout I completed on Facebook and appreciated being cheered on by my friends. Prior to that, my sister and I opted to quit sugar for the summer and inspired each other through regular check-ins. As a result of my past triumphs with longterm streaks, I just signed up for a 28-day Meditation Challenge to deepen my commitment to this powerful practice. If there is a goal you want to reach, consider finding a community or starting one of your own and inviting others to join you.

Perhaps by employing new methods for creating resolutions, we will have better outcomes in achieving them.

About the Author: Elyssa Gersen-Thurman is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor who has worked in social services for the last 25 years. Currently, she is Director of Work Readiness and Work Wellness Services at The HOPE Program, a non-profit whose mission is to help individuals in poverty achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and advancement. She recently launched a new blog Well Meaning, about wellness & counseling, at Hello Well Meaning. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and ten year old son.

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