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Yes, we know. New Year’s resolutions are overrated. Most people abandon them in the first couple of weeks. We don’t advocate for resolutions, but we do think it is a great time for reflection.

Here are 5 things to let go of this year:

  1. Saying Yes when you mean No

Boundary expert Nedra Glover Tawwab wrote:

“I say no to things I don’t like. I say no to things that don’t contribute to my growth. I say no to things that rob me of my valuable time. I spend time around healthy people. I reduce my interactions with people who drain my energy. “

Boundaries are a gift to us. When we say yes, while meaning no, we ignore our own needs.

Repeat after me:

I will honor my own feelings

I will listen to my own needs

I can put boundaries in place in my life

It is okay for me to make a choice that is different than what others want of me

2. Staying in relationships that are no longer working

Psychologist and researcher John Gottman talks about the magic relationship ratio, 5:1. We should have 5 positive interactions for every one negative interaction in our relationships. If our negative interactions are outweighing our positive interactions, it may be time for us to reevaluate the relationship.

Even friendships can become toxic.

According to clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, PhD:

“If you’re starting to feel like your bestie is no longer the best thing for you, chances are you’re in a toxic friendship. This kind of friendship has a tendency to sneak up on people. Generally, a toxic friendship emotionally harms you, rather than helping you”.

3. Drinking to the point of unmanageability

We don’t have to drink every day for it to be a problem. Does your drinking become unmanageable more often than not?

If so, it may be time to take a look at your relationship with alcohol.

Some questions to assess unmanageability:

Am I neglecting responsibilities?

Am I hiding my drinking?

Am I using poor judgement?

Am I increasing use of the substance?

Do I black out?

Are family or friends concerned about my alcohol use?

Do I say or do things that I wouldn’t do when sober?

Have I continued to use despite consequences at work or in my relationships?

4. Being unkind to yourself

We all have an inner voice. Sometimes our inner voice is unkind, harsh and critical. If we had a critical parent or a critical person in our lives, we may have internalized that harsh voice. However, our inner voice can also be grounding, loving and compassionate.

How can we be kinder to ourselves?

We can unlearn our old stories and learn new ways to talk to ourselves.

One of the ways that we can do this is through developing self-compassion. This involves noticing when our inner dialogue is unkind or critical and shifting that dialogue to a loving, compassionate dialogue. This takes self-awareness and practice.

According to Kristen Neff self-compassion is:

“Being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignore our pain”.

Another way that you can work on kindness with yourself is through working with a therapist. Many therapists are trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques that can help you to retrain your brain and your way of thinking about yourself. Some examples of cognitive techniques are techniques such as positive reframing and examining the evidence.

A positive reframe is when you challenge yourself to take a negative belief or thought and reframe that into a positive light. So instead of thinking of yourself as weird, you may think of yourself as interesting and unique. Instead of thinking of yourself as rigid, you can acknowledge to yourself that you are detail oriented.

Another CBT technique is called examining the evidence.

You take the scenario that you are being negative about, and you look at the evidence.

How likely is it that this will happen?

For instance, if you are thinking of yourself as lazy, you can examine the evidence. Do people experience me as not doing enough at work? Do people experience me as a slacker? Has this been brought to my attention before?

5. Doing too much

Over functioning is a common response to anxiety.

According to Kathleen Smith Ph.D., “When anxiety hits, our brain often turns on its autopilot. We find the quickest way to calm ourselves and everyone else down. For many people, the fastest strategy is to become over-responsible for family, friends, colleagues and even strangers”.

Are you checking up on others?

Setting goals for others?

Telling family members or friends what to do with their lives?

Making all of the decisions in your relationships?

Doing things for others constantly?

Do you often feel resentful because of how much you do?

The first step to break this pattern is awareness. Next, decide how you want things to look differently.

Ask yourself, how can I take care of myself when my anxiety increases instead of taking responsibility for others or doing too much?

Start to engage in a different form of self-care or self-soothing when you get anxious.

The Gist

It can be healthy to reflect on how you want things to look differently in the future. Firming up your boundaries, re-evaluating your relationships, taking a look at your drinking habits, shifting self-talk and noticing when you are trying to fix others are 5 ways that we can move towards growth in the New Year.

Modern Therapy and Wellness is a therapy practice in Louisiana. We provide in person and virtual sessions with residents of Louisiana. We specialize in anxiety, couples therapy, addiction, grief and chronic illness. Call us for a free phone consultation 504-452-1483.

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