As you begin this New Year, you may be thinking about – or have even already committed to – a new goal for yourself. If this is the case, it can help to consider what it will take (step-by-step) to meet that goal. In the last few months, there has been a lot of interest in the articles I’ve written that offer this kind of guidance. So, to help connect each piece of advice into one overall plan, I am listing the articles below with a short explanation of where they fit into your journey toward change.
Anytime you decide to change, you will experience some ambivalence. Some part of you wants to change while another part of you leans toward continuing the way you’ve always been. The more evenly these are balanced, the more difficulty you will have with starting to make changes or persisting in your efforts. Be aware that sometimes the pull to stay the same is subconscious and is more emotional than rational. This article can help you to identify and move through your ambivalence.
Once you are more committed to achieving your goal, it’s essential to tap your inner motivation. By knowing more about your inner experiences – such as your thoughts and feelings, you can choose to focus on those aspects that heighten your intrinsic desire to be different. This article identifies five domains of awareness and offers ways for you to access and use them to increase your motivation to attain your goals.
You might think that with motivation driving you forward, you are bound to make those much-wanted changes. Unfortunately, motivation is sometimes not enough. This is especially true when you hold negative perceptions of yourself. When you think this way, every slip or obstacle can seem like proof that you are destined to remain who you are right now and that trying to be different is a fool’s errand. Needless to say, this can quickly drain your motivation. This article can help you learn to be more accepting of your current self – even when you make mistakes or backslide – so that you can remain motivated to make the changes you’d like for your future self.
Setbacks can be discouraging – even demoralizing – for anyone. To keep moving toward your goal, it is essential that you have compassion for your struggles and encourage yourself, just as you would do so for a friend. This article defines what self-compassion is, what it is not, and how it can be just what you need to feel good about yourself even as you persevere through the inevitable problems that arise in trying to achieve your goals.
Now that you have prepared yourself in mind and spirit – a bit like preparing the soil of a garden for a fruitful season – you are ready to take the steps toward change. This article provides you with a way to structure and follow through with an effective plan of action.
I wish you all a healthy, happy year filled with meaning and fulfilling personal development!
Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice and is on the medical staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset in Somerville, NJ. She is also a regular contributor for the WebMD blog Relationships and is the relationship expert on WebMD’s Relationships Message Board.
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Making Change blog posts are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional assistance.
Personal change through compassionate self-awareness