New York, NY (Vocus/PRWEB) January 06, 2011
At the end of each year, we all make well-intentioned resolutions for the new year. We want more money, we want to find romance, we want to be happier, etc. Although they are established with the best of intentions, the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that they tend to be forgotten within days.
Dr. Ben Michaelis, a New York-based clinical psychologist, often hears patients talk about the things they want to achieve in the New Year. He finds that while many do what they say they will do, others find it a struggle to put words into action, continually feeling depressed, unhappy, and unfulfilled.
In today’s economy it is natural for us to focus on the negative and see our dreams of change as unattainable. According to Dr. Michaelis, “change doesn’t just happen; we have to make it happen. In order to that we have to make a commitment to ourselves - - show we are worth the time and effort to create the change we want.”
One stumbling block to change can be our natural inclination towards procrastination. We start off with great enthusiasm about our new goals for the year but somehow we always manage to find something else to work on instead. Something that can make the situation even worse is the sinking feeling that we are somehow flawed because we can’t get past our inertia. Dr. Michaelis says this is very common and easy to overcome and offers a few simple techniques to help us make 2011 the year of our accomplishments:
Start at the Beginning, Not the End - when you make a resolution the only thing that matters is to start. This is deceptively simple. At times what makes us procrastinate or ignore resolutions is the fear that we won’t complete the goal.
“The idea of focusing all your energy on the end product (i.e., the new job, graduating from school, completing the novel) is what stalls the process and fuels procrastination. It may be true that you won’t get a new job today, or this week, but you can start the process today. Getting any tangible part of your project done from looking up a company, to deciding on a list of schools to target, to writing a paragraph is extremely valuable if for no other reason than the optics of it. When we see the beginnings of our goals take form, we are more encouraged and feel positive about our possibilities.”
Stress - people often think of stress as a bad thing -- too much stress can be detrimental to your mental and physical health - - yet, there is an upside to stress. You just need to have the right balance. Too little stress and you will not be motivated to move forward. Too much stress and you feel overwhelmed and unable to do anything. The question is how to get the right level of stress in order for you to be productive.
“Determining what causes you stress so that you have the motivation to achieve your goals is critical. Will writing down your goals on a calendar give you enough stress, or will setting daily reminders in your calendar do it? Also, consider putting a completion date on your calendar as a way of adding stress. Think about this and try to create a bit of tension in order to follow through on your resolutions in the New Year.”
“A Little Help from My Friends” - try getting friends involved in your efforts. Even if what you want to achieve needs to be done alone, asking others to help you get past the initial hurdles can be a great way to keep you motivated.
“It is also a good idea for you to ask friends or loved ones about their own resolutions to see if you can help them. Having a ‘buddy’ to work with can also be a motivating factor. If you both commit to working on your own projects in the same space for 30 minutes you are far more likely to get it done than if you are trying to commit to that time alone.”
Location, Location, Location - find a place to work on your goals that can be free of distractions. Setting aside time on a calendar to simply leave the house or office, even for a few minutes, is a great way to get the gears turning. If youfind that being home is a signal to your brain that you are done for the day, don’t try to fight it. Instead, go somewhere to work on your goals, either a library, a café, or coffee shop you will be more productive and achieve a sense of accomplishment.
“Try to avoid going to a friend’s house to work, because, although this is important and can be fun, it is a great place to be distracted and the point of this is to actually get things done.”
Make 2011 the year you overcome procrastination and make your dreams reality.
Dr. Ben Michaelis is a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping patients achieve mental health and well-being through creative expression. His clients include New York Times bestselling authors, musicians, and a wide range of artists and professionals. He is an adjunct professor of psychology at Columbia University and on the medical faculty at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Dr. Michaelis is the co-founder of the Downtown Clinicians Collective, one of New York City’s largest networking organizations for mental health professionals. The author of numerous scholarly articles and studies, he has been featured as an expert on creativity and relationships in articles on Salon.com and in Entertainment Weekly, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times. Dr. Michaelis lives and creates with his wife and two children in New York City. Contact him at Ben(at)DrBenMichaelis(dot)com.