Taking Stock

taking-stock-1What is your New Years Resolution this year? Have you ever noticed the reaction that you get when you ask others that question? Many pause before stating it, some sigh and smirk, others laugh a little while shaking their head and the statement is often expressed in a tone that implies, “yeah if you believe that I will, then maybe I’ll believe it too”. Perhaps the reaction has more to do with the idea that  if you say it out loud, others might hold you accountable. Either way a resolution is a promise  to achieve a goal and a goal achieved is a dream fulfilled. As mental health providers we deal with such matters everyday; helping others to achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams. A 2013 study reported that the majority of us fail at achieving our New Years Resolution and the most common resolutions are related to improving physical and/or mental well being, work/life, finances, acts of kindness, and breaking habits.  In good fun and amongst colleagues and friends, I found that we ask the “What is…?” and do not follow through with the “How…?”. It’s true this maybe be hard to do without falling into the dynamics of a therapy session, but it sure would be more helpful to share those ideas and details.  A growing opinion amongst professionals is that the practice of taking stock at years end including thinking about last year’s resolution and making a new one, can be harmful to those who already struggle with depression as well as for those who experience the holiday blues. Whether one struggles with depression or not, a popular suggestion is to drop the tradition all together. Considering recent stats, perhaps it no longer serves it’s purpose and a more positive tradition might lead us to better outcomes.

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