• Mindy Utay

Resiliency, Not Resolutions

Like many others, you may wonder if New Year's resolutions make sense. It's good to set goals, but then you confront the realization that change is harder than it looks.

The seduction of a “New Year/New You” is a mixed message. It implies there's something wrong with the old you. That's not helpful. Yet, it's good to want to challenge yourself, and research shows that new experiences make us feel happy and alive.


Change is hard because we're hard wired to prefer what is safe and familiar. Old habits, even frustrating ones, are like old socks. They're so comfortable you hate to throw them out. At the same time, we crave the adrenaline surge that comes from trying something new and getting outside our comfort zones.


What to do about our stubborn brain that makes us cling to old patterns and ideas, especially at the New Year when we are encouraged to seek change and set new goals? How do we cultivate more resiliency so setbacks don't set us off course?

Here are a few tips to get you ready to make the change you desire:


Accept that change brings anxiety. This is normal and part of the process of growth. Change brings discomfort, but the feelings are temporary. If you can tolerate the discomfort of anxiety and fear, you will find that you're more resilient than you think. The feelings will ultimately pass and you're one step closer to your goal.


Visualize the road map. Visualize the changes you want to make before you take the first step. Seeing the journey in your mind's eye prepares you for what lies ahead. Preparedness reduces anxiety and builds resiliency and obstacles are predictable.


Don't go solo. Talk to someone who is going through a similar situation, or find a support group or a good listener. Maybe find a buddy. If you need help managing your fear, ask for it. Set an intention, and share it with someone. It makes it real and you are accountable.


Reflect on your experiences. Take your time. Don’t feel you have to rush through the process. Stay with what’s happening both inside and out. Mindfulness practices are helpful. Reframe your feelings of anxiety as preparing for a bold step forward.


Know yourself and how you have successfully navigated other changes in the past. Concentrate on all the successful transitions you have made in your life. Take credit for your resiliency.


We can change our mindset to prepare for change. Accepting the good and bad feelings surrounding change, builds resiliency. Change becomes a journey of personal growth, and we are emboldened to try new things. What would you like to try in the New Year? How will you prepare for it?

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© 2020 Mindy Utay, JD, LCSW