New Year’s Resolutions – Stages of Change

By: Tanya Kramer, LPC

Everyone’s New Year’s resolution journey is unique, and what works for someone else may not work for you.

With that being said, here are a handful of best practices that may be able to help you set resolutions this year.

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Consider what “Stage of Change” you are at right now. 

Please see the Stages of Change graphic above. 

Once you’ve acknowledged where you are at now, see if you can move a step closer to taking action. 

Then you can decide if you are ready to take action by January 1st. If you are not, that is completely fine – don’t rush it. 

Make a plan before taking action and then decide when you would like to start taking action. 

On the designated date, take action on your resolution. This date doesn’t have to be January 1st if you need more time.

If you slip, hold yourself with grace. What did you learn? Are there additional steps you may need to add to your plan? Take action again.

How Do I Make a Plan Before Taking “Action”?

While creating your plan, you’ll want to think about the current patterns and behaviours you would like to change.

You will also want to see if anything needs to be addressed before getting started. 

If you are a visual learner, it can be helpful to draw yourself a map.

Brainstorm any barriers that might impact your success and then come up with possible solutions. 

ExampleQuitting Smoking


In the example above – the individual realized that they tend to smoke while studying, in the morning, when they are bored, and during social events. 

Quitting smoking or any habit for that matter can’t be achieved overnight, and there may be some setbacks along the way.

Now, setbacks are all part of the process. Even if your journey doesn’t turn out as planned or takes a bit longer than anticipated, don’t give up!

You can achieve anything you set your mind to!