by Andrea Gregg, Refuge Center Intern
For many, a new year often marks an opportunity for a new beginning. As 2014 winds to a close you may find yourself thinking back over the past year, and hoping that the new year brings restoration to your mind, body, or spirit. Maybe you have even made a list of resolutions for the new year. Unfortunately, all too often our New Year’s resolutions are often discarded before we hit Valentine’s Day, and we’re left feeling discouraged, disappointed, and ashamed. Like many people, you have likely traveled this road before. Maybe your list of New Year’s resolutions looks remarkably similar to your list from last year. At this point, you could find yourself thinking, “Why bother?”, because the memory of past failure is still so vivid in your mind. It is easy to imagine failure because you have seen it before, but success seems impossible. This can leave you feeling hopeless and stuck in your current situation. So, what can you do to break free of this destructive cycle?
The first thing to recognize when working toward change is that the past does not predict the future. Regardless of how many attempts you have made in the past, you are still capable of growth and change. Second, you are not alone in this journey. The road that you are on is well traveled and others have faced the obstacles that you currently face. There are several roadblocks that often stand in the way of people achieving their goals, but there are ways to overcome them.
- Take the time to get to know yourself. Before you can begin thinking about true change, you must be able to identify your core beliefs and values. What is most important to you? What beliefs do you rely on? Make sure that any change you consider is in harmony with your core beliefs.
- Create realistic and clearly defined goals. It is very difficult to achieve your goals without first having a clear idea of what they are. Start small. Your goals do not have to be life-altering in order to create positive change in your life. Create goals that are short-term and realistically attainable.
- Take some time to assess where you are in this moment. Once you have a clear picture of where you want to be you need to also have a good understanding of where you currently are. How far from your goal are you right now? Are you so far away that you need to make smaller goals to help you work toward the larger goal? What is good about where you currently are? Take some time to notice the things that you DON’T want to change so you can be sure to make it a priority to keep these things around.
- Recognize and challenge negative beliefs. Very often, we are our greatest obstacle on the road to change. Are you telling yourself that you can never change? Do you believe that you are not deserving of change? What do you believe you are capable of? Take some time to evaluate your beliefs about yourself. Are they supporting you or limiting you? If your beliefs are limiting your ability to change, what can you do to challenge them?
At The Refuge Center for Counseling we believe that every person is capable of creating the life that he or she wants. Whether you are facing depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, marital discord, or any other issue it is never too late to take that first step and make a change. At The Refuge Center our counselors are here to walk with you in this journey to help you overcome the obstacles you are facing and achieve the life you want. Visit us at www.therefugecenter.org or call us at 615.591.5262.