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The Psychology of A New Year: Reflect, Reset & Renew| 12.28.2022

In this episode, Kristen talks about the psychology of a new year and how you reframe your new year's resolution with an authentic mindset.

You'll Learn

  • The science behind new year's resolution
  • Why do new year's resolutions fail
  • How to set authentic goals and make sustainable changes


For counseling services near Indianapolis, IN, visit www.pathwaystohealingcounseling.com.

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This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about ideas on stress management and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not psychotherapy/counseling in any form.

Welcome to this week's Close the Chapter podcast. It's hard to believe that we are ending another year. It feels like this year was so fast, and we begin to prepare for the next year. And I want to talk about intentions and New Year's resolutions, and what you want in the coming year. Where do you want to grow, change, evolve, or maybe want to accept parts of yourself and offer yourself more nurturing and self compassion in the process. So we're going to dive deep into that today. However, before we jump into that, be sure to download and get your free journal. It's a guide, it's a comprehensive guide to help you along the healing journey. And it's free, you can get it at kristendboice/freeresources, it will be sent to you automatically. And you will be the first to know about some of the things I'm creating in 2023, a programme that will support you on your growth journey. So be sure to join the mailing list and get your free guide. You can also follow along on social media at Kristen D Boice, on Instagram and Facebook. And then tick tock is just Kristen Boice. So and then I'm on Pinterest at Kristen Boice. So feel free to join the community there as well in share post, send me feedback. I love hearing from you, and topics you want to hear on the podcast. So let's jump in to today's episode around intentions and New Year's resolutions. So I wanted to dive first into the research on New Year's resolutions because there's some interesting data out there and I thought I'd share it with you. Because I want you to self reflect on where you fall into this category. And I will share some of my personal experiences as well. As we jump into this topic, so a professor and chair of Psychology at the University of Scranton. John Norcross has written on the science behind New Year's resolutions for decades. Amongst his research that spans from 1978 to 2020. Norcross has found that of those who make New Year's resolutions, this is his research study. 75% are still successful in keeping it after one week. After two weeks, the number drops 71%. After one month, the number drops again to 64%. And after six months, 46% of people who make a resolution are still successful in keeping it compared to those with similar goals, but no set resolution. Only 8% are still successful. So this is an interesting research study. He goes on to look at what are the identified patterns amongst 1000s of New Year's resolutions he has encountered over his research. The most popular resolution among participants concern physical health, which was 33%. The second most popular category was weight loss at 20%. The third most popular category was the desire to change one's eating habits at 13%, followed by resolutions regarding personal growth at 9%. And mental health and sleep was at 5% as fourth and fifth most popular categories. The remaining participants 20% Roughly made resolutions regarding work studies, tobacco and other habits. So this is very interesting. And I really took a deep dive into why do we want to set new year's resolutions. That gives us a sense of renewal, reflection, a reset. And we think about the areas we want to improve, grow or change. And most likely, when the year a new year, a new week, a new month starts. We get we shift mindsets, and that's called the Fresh Start effect. Like we want a fresh start. We want a new beginning we want to close the chapter on what isn't working for us and open the door or turn the page to making some sustainable changes. However, we know that change is hard. It is so hard and that's why people abandon give up lose motivation and And I thought we'd explore why do resolutions fail so in his book, be fearless, change your life and 28 psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert breaks down three of the biggest reasons people fail to complete their resolutions. And here's what he had to say. Number one, your resolution wasn't specific enough. And he says one of the biggest reasons people fail to keep their New Year's resolutions is because they don't like quantify it. For example, resolving to exercise more or lose weight are easy ways to set yourself up for failure as a lack ways to mark progress and are unlikely to keep you motivated through the year he says, instead tried making your goals specific like running a particular race you have circled on the calendar or losing 10 pounds by a particular date. This is according to him. Having a timeline on your resolution is helpful. So think of short term, medium term and long term benchmarks that you know you're on track to achieving your goal. Okay, here's the number two reason he says these are interesting. You didn't frame your resolution positively, which I found. That's intriguing. Another problem he says people face when making resolutions, as framing them was negative language, like stop wasting money stop eating junk food. He says it often backfires. Because it makes the very thing like you're trying to avoid. It's kind of an avoidance tactic, but it doesn't really work to motivate you. He says try frame your goal in a positive language instead. So much of how we talk to ourselves impacts our actions and our behaviours. Instead of telling yourself don't eat junk food, we should be telling ourselves the behaviour we desire, like eat carrots, and peanut butter for a healthy snack. Language, he says has a powerful effect on our overall motivation and self perception. Okay, the number three reasons he says resolutions fail is because your real resolution isn't about you. Let's dive into what he means by that. He says it doesn't reflect what you actually want. The biggest culprits are dieting and exercise trends. But it can apply to any number of goals like career related goal, or what you think other people expect of you. goals need to be made for you, the individual people seem to be influenced by friends, family, society, culture. Now social media, I'm going to add that in there. And people need to set goals that are for themselves and unique to you. goals based on existing skills and circumstances have a higher chance of being completed. Because they're grounded in reality, be true to yourself and setting up your intentions for this year. So I also took some deeper dive into the research because this got me down a rabbit hole, which I love looking at. And then I wanted to apply my experience in my own life and working with clients and what works and what does it to piggyback on what he is saying. And here's an interesting study I looked at one study showed that those that set new year's resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behaviour than those that don't, I thought that was fascinating. And in 2020, a Survey said 55% said they accomplished complex the goal by the end of the year. So I thought that was interesting. Okay, so let's break this down. Each year, I'm going to go over a suggestion to start with, you can segment your goals. I really want to reframe it from resolutions to what do you want more of in your life. And so you can break it down to personal goals versus work goals, or career goals.

That's what I've done. I've kind of broken mine up into two parts. And on top of that, what becomes more important to me are two things. One, what are your values? Have you identified your values? What do I mean by values? What are the things that are your guideposts your lantern your light for how you make all your decisions? So let me share personal examples. So I knew KEN I decided to kind of outline my values back in 20. I think it was 2012. What do I value the most in my life. And they can shift and change over the years and this is how I make decisions, resolutions if you will goals or set intentions and it's really important that you come up with these on the internet you can get a list of values. Dr. Brene Brown also has it in a book li dare to lead her book dare to lead, where you can go through a values based exercise and figure this out for yourself. I think she has it on her on her website as well. But just Google, how to determine your values, and you're gonna get a lot of helpful information on how to come up with these. So for example, mine are growth, truth. And I really only recommend picking three to four, growth, truth, authenticity, and love. And really growth, truth, authenticity and love. And if I were going to go on it would be family connection, health, I really narrowed it down because those are how I make my decisions, I look at my goals. It Am I in alignment with who I am, as a person, am I in alignment in my relationships with those values. So that's the first thing I do, and I recommend is outline your values. And if you're really lost again, go on the internet, type in values exercise or how to find my values and come up with the top three or four. And that will be your guide posts. Moving forward and 2023. Or today, right now, these are your guide posts. And I highly recommend doing this because this is even more important than goal setting, or resolutions. So this is the first step, the second step. The second recommendation I have, and I do this with most of my clients, and I do this with my family, we actually did this as a family system on Christmas. And you can do it anytime, anyplace anywhere, is you're going to pick a word that you want more of. And it's kind of a guidepost for your year. So for example, this year, my word was vessel V SSTL. vessel. I originally started with focus, and then I changed it to vessel, it just really resonated with me what is vessel mean, to me, it means that I am not in my ego, I'm not edging God out. I am just the spirit, that self that I am being able to be used to be present, enact love guide, help hold space for myself, my family and other people. And it's not in it to feed my ego. It's not in it to make me feel loved, valued, special important mattered enough. It's really about being the spirit self of me. And that really resonated for me this year. I didn't forget it. I checked in with it. And I recommend doing this once you pick your word every week. Check in with how is this resonating for me? What is showing up around this in my life? How is the speaking to me? How is it not speaking to me really use it as a guidepost along with your values for the year. And I had a hard time coming up with my word for this year because I really loved my word last year. And what I did with my family is we went over round, this is the extended family. I'm the one that comes in and loves deep growth. And they're all like, Okay, we'll play along. But we don't even know what you're saying. And some people really struggled with coming up with a word which was totally fine. To give them space to come up with it. And so our family came up, each of us came up with our words, and I love doing this with my girls. And seeing what words resonate for them each year. And then we did reflection on our words for last year. How did it speak to you? And one of my kids is like, I don't even remember my word. I really don't we because I didn't check in with them on their words. And I want to do that this year more intentionally check in on their word, how's it going? How are they feeling about it is what's coming up around it. And then I also do it with the pathways to healing counselling team. So all of our clinicians also come up with a word in this year, I'm going to be much more intentional about checking in with the word and seeing how that's going for, for the team for each individual. And we've done it every year, for probably eight years, maybe on the team, maybe less. We've done it forever. And so I want to continue to utilise this as as a way to expand ourselves for various reasons, which leads me to my word for 2023 which is expansion because I Pick this word because I started with the word love. And then I thought, how do we get more love in the world. And it's really through. Coming from a closed, conditioned, programmed point of view that's based a lot in fear, and unconsciousness to becoming more conscious, awake, aware, and open, which expand your thoughts, your feelings, your beliefs, your emotions, your body sensations. It's an expansion of love, and openness in your life in my life. That's the word that resonated with me is expansion. Now that can come with many different meanings for different people. That's what it means to me. How can I expand more with not been attached to outcomes, not wanting things to be a certain way, this is really hard, not wanting certainty, like attaching to needing certainty, is expanding myself to be able to tolerate handle, sit with be with the uncertainty and be present in the moment. So what I did is I kind of sat with myself and I said, What do I want more of in my life and just start jotting down what comes to you. So if you have a pen and paper, you can do that now. Or you can re listen to this episode. And do it later. Or you can share it with somebody and you guys can do it together. So you're going to take a pen and paper and say what do I want more of in my life? And here's what came through. For our family. I won't say names, but this is what came through happiness. This is extended family, happiness energise. Inspire. We came up with presents. Of course, mine was expansion. We came up with health, that was one and self care, rest. There are so many forwards, someone wanted to look forward and not look back. So forward was theirs. And growth was one. And so that gives you some maybe food for thought on what do you want more of in your life, and what do you want to focus on. Because if you want more of it, then you're going to have to focus on that. That's where your goals then can come into play. And just some self reflection, meditate, pray over be with that word, and why it's coming up for you. It's coming up for a reason. So let yourself be open and not have the perfect word, I need to have the perfect word. I recommend doing this with your family, you can do it at dinner, or a friend or partner. You could do it with a co worker, a neighbour, someone you're in relationship with, maybe

you're in a 12 step group, it doesn't matter whatever that looks like for you. I highly recommend doing this and then sharing your word and then checking in with each other. checking in with yourself and the journaling. Put your word up on your mirror, put it up in your car, put it on a post it note at your computer. So you keep it top of mind. I like what I call brain cues, qu e s, you're killing your brain to focus on what you want more of. We have to remind ourselves because we're kind of going through our lives, sometimes sleepwalking through it and we're not paying attention. We're unconscious about it. So let's bring what you want more of to consciousness. So we broke down. Number one recommendation is values coming up with three or four values that are your guideposts for your life. They are how you make your decisions. If it's out of that guidepost, your decision, your decision becomes more clear. That's number one. Number two is coming up with a word of the year to embody to embrace what you want more of in your life. That's number two. And then here are some other additional tips. You already heard the three tips from the psychotherapist who did the research on New Year's resolutions. Here's the other pieces and parts to becoming more intentional in 2023. It's important to explore your motivation. What do I mean by that? Sometimes I wake up and I have no motivation. Should none, I don't want, I just, I just wanna lay in my bed. And now I'm on my phone. And I have to take some deep breaths and get myself centred in my nervous system. And be more intentional about my values in my word. Sometimes that's fine to sit in your bed and relax and do all that. And other times I have to get up and go to a job, get the kids ready. And there's gonna have to be some loving self care and nurturing for me to get through that. And we can do the five second rule where you count to five, and then you get yourself up out of bed. Check in with your motivational level, which means check in with your energy level. Where is your energy tank? Your like a power plant? What's taking up your energy? Did you get enough sleep? Did you go to bed on time? Did you go to bed too late? Did you drink too much? Are you hung over? Are you these are things that I know clients struggle with? Did you not eat right? Have you not been taking care of yourself, maybe you haven't moved enough to really feel energy. Maybe you haven't gone to the doctor and checked in on your just physical health and gotten bloodwork done. It's important you're nurturing not only your spirit self, your mental health, so going to therapy, working with a coach, I love therapy. As you know, as a therapist, as a marriage and family therapist, I'm a big proponent of taking care of yourself in therapy. And the other pieces we have spirit, mental, emotional, and physical wellness, are you are you paying attention to all of those. And notice how you grew up. I grew up in a home where exercise as a child was not a thing or priority, nor was nutrition. It just wasn't. And so I've had to kind of teach myself and retrain my patterns. And it's still patterns I have to work on to this day and will probably forever have to work on that. Get support if you need it. Get support. Like I said a therapist, if you need mental emotional well being maybe you're trapped, trapped and trauma from the past that needs to be cleared out. I watched a movie based on a recommendation. It's from 1980. And had Mary Tyler Moore on it. You may or may not have seen it or heard of it. It's called ordinary people. And it wasn't what I expected. Because it was about a family system where there was four family members, mother, father and two boys and one of the boys was killed in a tragic accident. And the other brother was present in there and felt responsible for the brother's death. And the one brother just trigger alert if you need to skip this part, I understand try to kill himself. And the one that survived and it was all about how the family system was handling the grief, the trauma, the loss, and brings tears to my eyes because this is what I deal with with clients. When we are given permission to process our emotions, the sadness, the anger, the rage, the fear, the grief, the excitement, the joy, all of it. We're able to feel like we're a whole person. When we are not able to grieve I'm just thinking of the movie. It's it's it's a powerful movie. It's an emotional movie. It's a slow go if you're not if you're it's was in 1980. But at the the most important part is he ended up getting help support which goes back to my getting support. Recommendation. The son ended up getting support. I don't want to give away the movie. And in that he began to feel his feelings. He began to heal. He began to free himself from the pain, the sense of responsibility. He felt the shame that why did he survive that he made a mistake with his brother, there's a lot to it but He then began to heal his pain because he was facing the pain. Not alone. He was facing it with the therapist, his father. And you'll see in the movie that someone couldn't handle the pain, they wanted to run away, they wanted to escape it, they wanted it to be perfect. They wanted to go back how it was and you can't, they couldn't. So to get support and your willingness to face pain, your willingness to process those emotions and have an empathic witness will change your life. Maybe you need a 12 step programme, maybe you need a support group, like a grief share group, a divorce care group, maybe you need Overeaters Anonymous, maybe Codependents Anonymous, sex addictions anonymous and in there go AAA, you have so many options, if you just Google support group for and then put in what you need to help for. They're there. They're available lots of free ones, in person and online. You don't have to do this alone. And in the new year, I know it's vulnerable to ask for help. Because I'm walking the walk with you, I know it's vulnerable. And if you want to be free of the pain that's plagued you, or the shadow side that we don't want anybody else to see. Because if they saw the shadow side of us, they would not accept us. We think it's not true. We all have a shadow side. This is the illusion there is an illusion that nobody has problems that everybody has it all together. It's a sham. Everybody's got stuff. And when we stop pretending that we don't we start connecting, we start living in freedom and less shame that we're the only one we're defective. There's something wrong with us, we begin to see the humanity of every single human. There's also another documentary about support and getting help. It's a documentary on Jonah Hill, the actor I did not know and the comedian, I did not know who he was when I saw the the documentary. It's called Stutz, s t u tz. And it's on Netflix. And it's about Jonah, the actors journey, getting help with his therapist, the psychiatrist which is steps, who also has Parkinson's disease, a psychiatrist does, but it's his therapist and what he's learned and how he has become more vulnerable and worked through his childhood pain. He also lost a brother, and the grief of that and then it goes over the therapists life and he's like, Oh my gosh, what you've showed me is, you got stuff too. And it normalises that in order to heal, you have to have vulnerability. And it's okay to ask for help and support and Jonah struggled with his weight growing up and feeling like the fat kid. And he learned to use his which is what I teach clients, his inner, his adult self to nurture and love and accept

his little boy self that every he referred to as the fat kid. And he learned to love him, he learned to embrace him, he learned to really acknowledge him, instead of be ashamed by him. And that's the work of getting support, working and facing the pain journaling. He talks about meditation, he talks about breathing exercises that I teach all the time, the square breathing, where you inhale through your nose for four, hold for four, exhale, slowly out your mouth for eight. He talks about really loving the shadow side. And getting out of the maze of the pain. So that's on Netflix, it's called starts giving you all kinds of movie references. Because I think it can help in your support system. It can help to see you're not alone. And what you're dealing with when you go into this new year. It's not like New Year New you that that's not really what it is. It's New Year, embracing all of you. It's learning to love all the parts of yourself, not become a new person. You're becoming a better version of who you are. You might think of it as a renewed sense of self. And I think that that makes sense. So it's okay to ask for help. And always know that not the number you can dial 988 It's like the 911 for kind of physical stress going on a fire An emergency a car accident, really almost anything. 98 is the mental and emotional wellness number, you can text or call that number, anytime any place in there are trained mental health clinicians on the other line, you can do it if you're with somebody, and you don't know what to say or do, and they're suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, or you're having suicidal thoughts. 988 can be a support for you. It's important. When you're looking at doing this deeper work, you have support, you have help. And just in the new year, like, this is the time to sit with that discomfort of leaning in to picking up the phone, or sending that email to build a support system, who are the people in your support system. And remembering change, change is a process. You know, sometimes what I call with clients is the efforts like you're like, just forget it, you just want to throw the whole thing out the window. If you make one mistake, like you feel like you take 10 steps forward and 20 steps back. That is what change looks like. Be patient with yourself, you're not going to be perfect. So people think, why was it I gave up sugar and then I had a cookie? And then forget it. I'm not even going to do it. And I'm like, well, first of all, was the goal realistic? Second of all, can you be kind to yourself and acknowledge what was driving you to go eat the cookie, explore the deeper depth, and then be nurturing to yourself are so critical of ourselves, we are so hard on ourselves. And it keeps us stuck. I wrote down from the movie, a couple of notes that pertain to kind of this whole idea of starting the new year off. I mean, this isn't the reference point they were using. It's just about the growth journey. And sometimes we have to remember that doing something right doesn't allow you some creativity to come through. So do you want to be right or create something and to take action even when you're afraid to do it. We think we'll wait till we don't have any fear. And sometimes we have to go you know, I have fear I'm going to take a deep breath and do it any ways. Fear can be our friend befriend the fear. And it's okay to take a deep breath and lean into that discomfort and do it anyways. Remembering that all events in your life have value, no matter how painful they are. And every thought you have impacts your mood. I think that's so true. Every thought you have impacts your mood. Here's something else that I think is important to know like if you're chasing you want things to be fair in your life, maybe you felt like they were unfair growing up and there was a child that was favoured over another which kind of came to the surface in the movie ordinary people. And you felt like it wasn't fair. And you weren't fair. The quest for fairness. put your life on hold the quest for fairness, put your life on hold. You don't end up getting to embody your values. Perhaps your word you've chosen, or the path you want to you want more of in your life if you're focused on unfairness you're focused on being stuck in what's impossible sometimes to change. Now, I'm not saying don't have a voice and don't advocate for yourself and things along those lines. But if you're fixated on something that's already happened, that you cannot change, you're gonna put your growth in your healing. In your new year for new, you know, your growth on hold. Remember to take small steps, small steps, you don't need to take these giant leaps. I think the giant leaps feel so big and so overwhelming that it shuts us down. So it might look like a just a small step at a time. It might be each day you're going to journal for a minute, they have the five minute journal, and it might be I'm just going to do five minutes or I'm just going to do a gratitude journal. Five things you're grateful for we're going to talk about it as a family. Maybe you're going to keep a gratitude jar, something or or all the fun memories are things you learned in 2023 and you're gonna keep a jar of things you learned in 2023 Actually, I'm writing that down because I want Do that as a family, things we learned in 2023, they can be positive, they could be hard, they could be not so great. But come up with what works for you and take little small steps. That's why I like having a planner to kind of refocus. What are my three priorities for today and put my words at the top of the planner, spend some time mapping out, what are your What are you wanting out of this year 2023 write them out, I have business goals that are different. So I want to create a programme for people that are on a growth path that what support in their healing journey kind of psycho educational things that piggybacks on the podcast. But then we have a community of people that are on the same path to growth, they're different, maybe a different life circumstances, but you all want to grow. And you want a community of people that have a growth mindset that can look within own their reactions, own their stuff, and start making some changes. And I would pick on maybe two goals, start small, or maybe it's even one goal, let's not put 20 million goals because I think it's too overwhelming. Start with a couple of goals. What I like to do is I like to write my goals out at least once a week, what I want out of my life. Like I want deep, authentic, truthful connections with my family, and with my friends, it's so important to me that I show up as my authentic self so that I can they feel free to show up as their authentic self and be vulnerable and Tell me truth. So my encouragement to you as a takeaway is write out your values. Number one, number two, pick your word for 2023. I would love for you to share your word. So you can screenshot this episode, tag me on social at Kristen D Boice. And then put your word, what is your word? Tell me your word. I'm so curious. I would love to have a community of people that are telling me their words or your phrase, that can be something or your mantra, maybe for 2023. But try to think of a word and share it with me. I'd love to hear it. And then write out your goals based on those foundational steps. And then outline a plan of how maybe some small steps you're going to take each day. Put it up, put it on post it and then what support system do you need to help you get there? I'm cheering you on. I'm so grateful for you and you pass in these episodes along. I mean, I truly grateful and you're reviewing the podcast. I just can't tell you enough how much that means because I'm on a mission to help people find healing and freedom and expansion of thought. So here's to expansion, and 2023 of your heart, your mind, your soul, your spirit, your emotions, your body to welcome what you want for the new year. Thank you so much for being who you are and listening and can't wait to see you next year. Happy new year.