Lexington counselor offers help for keeping New Year’s resolutions

Originally published by WEKU.

Kelly Hagan is a licensed psychological associate in Lexington who’s been helping people sort out their lives for three decades. She said new year’s resolutions are a way for folks to take inventory of their lives, decide what’s important and focus on what they want to become. Of course, as the saying goes, “If wishes were fishes, pollywogs wouldn’t bump their tails.”

“I think a lot of times, they may not be successful because people don’t really map out, or think about what it will take to actually accomplish a goal or make a resolution. Oftentimes, we tend to set these really lofty goals for the future, without honestly assessing why we struggled in the past in the first place.”

Hagan said there’s not much difference between the public pledges people make for the new year and those they express in private counseling sessions.

“When someone’s in therapy, you can talk all you want, but the real work takes place outside of therapy itself, practicing these things, breaking down large goals into smaller, more achievable ones. So pretty much, making a New Year’s resolution is essentially what people talk about in therapy all the time.”

Hagan suggested baby steps, because when those are achieved, people receive the sort of reward they need to move on to the next, or more difficult goal. She said the way we phrase our resolutions is important, too.

“Whenever you do decide on a goal, it’s important to try to make it positive. Like for example, if somebody said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to complain a whole lot next year.’ Well, rather than phrase it as, ‘I want to complain less,’ maybe phrase it as, ‘I want to create a gratitude list.’”

Hagan said we should use our values for motivation, because values tend to inform and guide our behavior – and help us remember why we made those resolutions in the first place.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.