by Rachel Kloppe, MA, LPC
Are you the same person you were a year ago?
Every January, as we switch out the calendar for a different year, some of us may make resolutions or tell ourselves “I’m going to be better this year.” Whether we’re trying to kick a bad habit, start a healthy one, or achieve a certain goal, many of us take January 1st as an opportunity for change.
Unfortunately, we can never predict how our year will go. There are so many variables at play that it’s impossible to control for all of them. School, work, relationships, hobbies, finances, health, travel – none of it is set in stone. Anything can happen to make us think “Well, so much for that.” We forget, we give up, we get overwhelmed, we move on. Sometimes, when we switch out the calendar for the new year, we think Oh yeah. I told myself I was going to do that this year. Sometimes we feel guilt for the resolutions we abandoned and changes we never made. Sometimes we end up in a totally different place than we were one year prior, and our resolutions seem irrelevant. Sometimes we do follow through with those resolutions and we feel accomplished, ready to move on to the next thing. Or maybe we feel burned out.
A few weeks into 2024, where are you in regard to your resolutions? Have you made any progress? Have you changed your goals? Have you (like me) avoided making resolutions because you hate feeling disappointed when they don’t work out? No matter where you are in your personal journey, you are not alone. Our world today is more connected than ever, and we have the ability to find communities full of other people who understand and empathize with our struggles, or who have similar goals to us and help hold us accountable, or who share in our passion for certain hobbies or interests. These people exist both online and offline – they’re our friends, family, coworkers, teachers, and neighbors. You may have more in common with someone than you think – even with your therapist! Everyone has goals they are trying to reach, no matter how seemingly small or major. Many of us benefit from the connection we feel with other people who support and motivate us.
Naturally, as a human, there are times where I have trouble following through with goals or resolutions, I try to set for myself. Whether I get distracted, my priorities change, or I lose motivation, I sometimes struggle to maintain focus on myself and my needs. Especially for those of us who are caregivers (in any sense of the word), we may have trouble taking time for ourselves to focus on things like our own health, dreams, or personal growth. I encourage you to regularly set aside time to reflect on what changes you may want to make for yourself. It is absolutely never too late to start. Just because January 1st has passed doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to initiate changes – and just because you have a setback (or several) along the way doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. I encourage you to build relationships with your friends and family, find a sense of belonging and community, tend to your mental health, and practice self-care year-round. Acknowledge the progress you have made, even if it seems insignificant to you. Take every opportunity to be patient with yourself and the world around you as you become more of the person you aspire to be. It’s a journey that lasts your entire life, and it’s not one that you have to take alone.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!