By Krys Oyler
With the beginning of this new year it seemed appropriate to talk briefly about new years’ resolutions. You know, that thing that you’ve already broken now that we are a few days into the new year (something tells me many reading this know exactly what I’m talking about!) I was speaking with my wife about our new year’s resolutions a few days before the new year. When asked what she was going to do she said, “you know, the normal ones…”. What she meant of course was the resolutions she makes every year, but for one reason or another is unable to follow through on.
Because I value marital bliss and have a keen desire for self-preservation, I’m not going to focus on my wife’s new year’s faltering’s, but instead will look at a why I’ve failed on recent resolutions.
Over the past few years I have made numerous resolutions, reading a book a month, being more patient, a healthier activity level, etc. I once made it approximately 6 weeks being incredibly patient with everyone around me, but alas, I still found my way back to my old patterns shortly thereafter.
I am assuming many of us reading this blog can empathize with this plight, doing well for a time and then crashing and burning and returning to old vices. Why is that? One answer is contained in the too often forgotten Stages of Change model developed by Prochaska and DiClementein the late 1970s. In this model, we learn that there are times when we are actually ready and prepared for change, while there are other times where we really have no intention of changing, or maybe are only really contemplating a possible change. If we find ourselves in these early stages (e.g. pre-contemplation, contemplation, or even preparation) we may struggle to make and maintain significant life changes.
So, for those of you wondering why these wonderful new year’s resolutions often just don’t seem to pan out, perhaps doing some introspection on where you fall in the stages of change process and doing some work on improving this piece may avail you of some improved change in your life. It’s also important to note that even when we are in an action or maintenance stage of change, relapse sometimes happens. The goal is to learn from each relapse and continue to move in the right direction. So, until I find myself in the action stage of change I’ll likely find myself going a short time with my well-intentioned resolutions, but ultimately finding my way back to my regular, security blanket mode of functioning.