Yes, it’s that time of year again. The one where everyone makes a new year’s resolution vowing to do better at [insert last year’s failed resolutions here]. You can’t escape the topic no matter what media platform one is into, TV, radio or online. In fact, I was watching a program recently that discussed new year’s resolutions and that 80% of people who make them fail at keeping them. Some of the reasons given were because they tend to be too vague or unrealistic. So instead, they recommend setting goals and making them measurable and realistic. But what caught my attention was taking that process a step further through, “Finding your word.”

“Finding your word” is a process of discovering a word that represents a theme for all areas of your life for a year. This is a concept that has been around for quite a few years so maybe it’s not new to you but the reason it caught my attention is not about some magical “one word” but more about living with intention. If you are looking to make changes in your life then you need to ask, “Why is this important to me right now?” Committing to the “Why?” of setting goals helps us to stay on track because the motivation comes from what we value. It also can help us to say no to people or activities that aren’t in line with what is important.

As a caregiver we can set a goal of “taking a half hour to myself every day” but we need to follow that up with, “Why?” Some examples, “It makes me a better caregiver” or “I’ll be more able to stay calm so I can help my loved one to calm down during meltdowns,” otherwise it may be easy to let that go when others or activities are demanding our time.

Whenever we try to make positive changes in our life we will inevitably experience setbacks and that can give us feelings of hopelessness or make us give up. 12 step programs teach about taking it one-day-at-a-time. It’s a great way to focus. Perhaps, looking at what you want to achieve in a year may be overwhelming or maybe you’re feeling disappointed that you haven’t accomplished as much as you would like after 15 days into the new year. Then just focus on today. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened. Focus on today, or the next hour or the next minute.

When you get to the end of the day look back and savour the successes. Keeping a Success Journal or Gratitude Journal to record those small victories or what you are thankful for helps you to reframe the circumstances in your life. It’s also an encouraging way to track your progress and to see how far you’ve come. It’s often too easy to get beaten down by bad days and these reminders can be a lifeline to getting us through very difficult times. Any victory no matter how small helps us to focus on the positives even if it is to say, “Today is finally over!”

So, if you are looking to make some changes in 2018 consider the “Why?”, take it one-day-at-a-time and savour the successes.