fbpx Reflection vs Resolution: A New Approach
Authored by Bobbi Kochevar on December 28, 2023

As we say goodbye to 2023, it’s time to say hello to the New Year! 

Question: Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?  

Follow-up question: Why do people do this?  

Making New Year’s resolutions has been a tradition for several hundred years, some historians believe the practice dates back to 4,000 years ago with ancient Babylonians making resolutions during spring crop planting. Personally, I don’t find it necessary to “resolve” to making changes or trying something new just because it’s a new year. Why take on the pressure? 

For some, making resolutions can seem overwhelming and create anxiety due to fear of failure. Often, we set lofty and unrealistic goals just to keep up with everyone else. But here’s a secret: those of us who make these lofty goals and then fail to achieve them are definitely keeping up with the majority. A US News and World Report article estimated that 80% of people who make a New Year’s resolution have abandoned it by the second week in February.

I recommend we get off this wild ride. But how?

Prioritize Reflection

Often the goals we set are outside-in. Meaning they focus on external factors such as dieting, joining gyms, or changing jobs. What if we set our sights on the inside-out perspective? Looking inward allows us to switch from resolution to reflection.  

Try this exercise: Think about the past year. Quietly reflect on all that has transpired over the last 12 months. Surely there were joys and sadness, ups and downs, moments of laughter and of tears. Now, focus on all that you’ve accomplished and how much you have grown. As you reflect, consider how the challenges you encountered directly or indirectly contributed to your growth and accomplishments. I have no doubt they did. Be proud of these accomplishments, no matter how small.  

Set Aside Time for Daily Reflection and Gratitude 

As you go through this exercise of reflection, don’t be surprised if you find your attitude shifting from one of despair to one of satisfaction and hope. Starting the year by reflecting on the accomplishments of the past allows us to approach the upcoming year with a more positive attitude. And guess what? We don’t have to wait until the end of the year to do this reflective exercise. Rather, we can set aside time each evening to recognize and appreciate what went well that day. Having an attitude of gratitude is HEALTHY and allows you to be in a positive state of mind—no matter what day it is.  

My hope for the New Year is that you take time to look internally versus externally. You will find that there are many reasons to smile and celebrate the YOU you’ve become. We are all works in progress and must remember to keep focused on our progress—no matter how small. Having a mindset of progress over perfection is a healthy way to launch into the New Year!

This blog article was contributed by Bobbi Kochevar, Chief Operating Officer for Nexus Family Healing.

Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health servicesfoster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org