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Minisode 13 | January 12, 2021

New Year. Same You.

In this minisode, we talk about New Year's resolutions, intentions and goal setting, and how to think about what this time of year really means in terms of our personal growth.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries to become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

Quick disclosure: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

new year same you | new years resolutions | hard no podcast

Many of us see the New Year as an opportunity to assess our lives and establish new goals and habits. We make New Year resolutions, pick a word for the year, write bucket lists, create vision boards, start diets, the list goes on. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, both of us have selected a word of the year (Sarah’s is “pause,” Heather’s is “alignment”). But sometimes, if we’re not careful and mindful, we can sabotage ourselves with these efforts, so we wanted to have an honest conversation about it.

Key Takeaways
  • In order to create any type of sustainable change, we need to process our emotions and get to the root of why we feel the way we do. This is why therapy can be so helpful.
  • Research shows that people oftentimes fall back into old patterns and are less likely to commit to a goal if it doesn’t offer immediate payoff or give them instant gratification.
  • Research also shows that the more empathy and self-compassion we have, the more likely we are to make a sustainable change. So the idea of not striving for perfection, but striving for progress and remembering that improvement is a process, a journey, is important.
  • Try to think about what your “best life” looks like and what you need to get there. What’s life-giving? What’s life-sucking? Goals are wonderful, but it’s important to be flexible with our approach and give ourselves grace. Some people think that giving themselves grace means making excuses, and that’s not the case. It’s recognizing where you are today and what’s going to help you make progress towards where you want to go.
  • If you’re trying to stop doing something, think about why. Why do you want to change? And instead of thinking about it in terms of denial (“I can’t do that”), try to think about it positively (“in order to reach my goal, I can do this other thing instead”). Replace the thing you’re trying to stop with something more helpful.
  • Try not to think in terms of success or failure, all or nothing, black or white. There’s a lot of gray area between “success” and “failure.” If you make a mistake or fall back into an old habit, don’t give up. Just remember it’s a process and you’re learning something new. Mistakes are proof that we’re learning and we have the courage to try new things.
  • If you try to keep a “growth mindset” and you’re honest with yourself, you can use “mistakes” or “failures” as opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Reframing failure – Write the letters F A I L vertically on a piece of paper. Then after each letter, complete the words below to recognize that failure is part of the learning process:
    • F irst
    • A ttempt
    • I n
    • L earning
  • Plant Visualization – Imagine yourself as a plant, whether it’s a flower, tree, or whatever, then draw that plant in the center of a piece of paper.
    • Now, identify the foundation, the soil. What does that plant need to be rooted in, in order for it to grow?
    • Next, what type of environment does the plant need in order to grow?
    • Next, what are the plant’s basic needs? If you were to draw droplets of water or rays of sunshine, what words would you fill in there? What are the things that feed you and help you grow as a person?
    • And finally, what relationships do you (as the plant) need to thrive?

The idea is to think about the things that nourish you, feed your soul, and help you grow as a person. Conversely, think about what inhibits your growth or what doesn’t serve you. What should you remove from your life so that you can grow and thrive?

Credits and Thanks