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The Confusion And Illusion of New Years Resolutions


The next couple days is a pivotal time for many people that set New Year’s resolutions. It takes about 3 weeks to set a habit. Have your resolutions been ingrained for the new year?

At the three week mark, some people are feeling a sense of disbelief or impossibility. Perhaps even a sense of being overwhelmed or disappointed is beginning to set in. Some to the point of feeling like a failure.

South Florida Reporter asked clinical psychologist Dr. Dara Bushman to answer some questions about New Year’s resolutions.

(SFR) Why do people make New Year’s resolutions?

(DB) People make resolutions as a way to set an intention and put out to the world or universe how they would like to see shifts and transformation happen for them. A resolution is an expression of hope.

(SFR) Is it a good idea?

(DB) It is always a great idea to create an intention. Setting an intention or resolution puts out to the universe what it is you want to happen.  A resolution is similar to a goal. Creating a resolution or a goal automatically allows it to be a possibility or an option. A resolution is a manifestation of an idea or a vision.


(SFR) Why do people lose interest?

(DB) Unfortunately, some people lose interest because the resolutions they have set are unrealistic or too general. Resolutions are often not individualized or realistic to ones schedule or lifestyle,(i.e. I want to work out every day, yet the person works 12 hour shifts 4 days a week or I have never worked out a single day a week).

When a resolution feels overwhelming or impossible, you don’t feel successful at something, you lost interest! If a child does not get made to feel like they are a good at catching, they will not to play baseball.  Find your strengths and utilize what does work for you.  People often set too many resolutions, left feeling overwhelmed. A lack of planning leads to a lack of success. When people feel alone or left out , interest is lost. No one wants to be the only one not going on a trip while their friends do because they set a resolution to save money.

(SFR) How can people stay focused?


(DB) Set resolutions that are realistic for your lifestyle.  Begin with a resolution of working out three days a week to start. Set a goal you know you can exceed. Add on a day because you enjoy it! Individualize your resolution to match with your lifestyle and your interests. Create resolutions that are fun and you feel good at doing. If you are not Betty Crocker, a resolution to cook every night will be torture! A resolution to cook two times a week will keep your attention. Have flexibility and alternative options. If your resolution is to organize your house, start with a room and create different plans to get it done so if one doesn’t work you have an alternative.

(SFR) What can I do?

(DB) Prioritize your resolutions.

Create a list of priorities and make a Plan of Action.

Create a team or a partner for accountability and camaraderie

(SFR) What advice can you give people?

resolutions(DB) Identify resolutions and goals versus expectations. Goals and resolutions have flexibility and alternative options Expectations often have rigidity.  When an expectation is not met one feels unsuccessful. If my goal or resolution is to lose 20 pounds and I lose 15, I see the progression and maintain motivation. If the expectation is 20 pounds and 15 pounds is obtained, it is seen as a failure. An expectation is often powered by external stimuli where a goal is energized internally.

Keep resolutions realistic, FUN, and simple. Prioritize your resolutions and do one at a time.

If you have questions for Dr. Dara you can send them to us, or directly to Dr. Dara:

Dr. Dara Bushman, Psy.D., NBCCH, RRT