Making Resolutions as Abuse Survivors, is there a point?

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Every year it’s the same thing, each time we see a new year on the horizon, the proverbial New Years Resolution is always a hot topic no matter where you find yourself. I often ask myself, what’s the point?

How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution that you had high hopes for, only to see it fall by the way side within a month of the new calendar year?  Me! I’m raising my hand, jumping up and down, and wearing a sandwich sign!

Since I had such a pattern of not following through, years ago I decided to just not even bother anymore.

Why set myself up for failure when I know I’m setting lofty goals and expectations, only to end up self-shaming each time they ended up in the round file folder next to my desk?

I shame myself as it is for not healing fast enough, missing an opportunity to be mindful, or any number of survivor related things. Why add to the problem and make things even worse?

So, this year I am deciding to put some thought into why those resolutions never worked before, and reassess if I should consider trying them again with a different approach.  It’s always good to go back later on down the road, and rethink something that wasn’t working. Not to go through the “woulda coulda shoulda” scenario, but to consider if there is a better way to go about it that might turn my luck around.

Or, just to confirm that the right decision was made the first time and just let it go at that. Lesson learned so to speak. 

I fully admit that I am the type of person that loves to be organized. In fact, it’s a necessity for me. I can’t stand clutter, and things that are out-of-place work on my nerves and cause me serious anxiety. Now I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I will immediately jump and correct a crooked picture on the wall, or pick up those socks on the floor, this instant…but I will do it pretty quickly once I notice it.

Being that I’m organized (I’d forget my head if it wasn’t attached), you’d think that I’d be all over sticking to resolutions that I make. I mean if I say I’m going to do it, then I just do it, right?

Wrong! I tend to make my resolutions way too broad, too vague, and don’t normally put a plan of action together to achieve it. I would always just say:

  • I’m going to lose weight
  • I’m going to eat healthier
  • I’m going to save more money
  • I’m going to appreciate life more
  • And none of it ever works… at least not for me. Maybe you’re the same way?

For abuse survivors, setting resolutions and goals can be very difficult. Not only is it triggering for us, but it contributes to self-shame, anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, and an overall sense of yet again not accomplishing something we think we should have. As if we needed any more reasons to feel all of that in the first place!

So, what are we to do? Is there a point to making a resolution or a plan for change in the new year?resolutions-a-new-approach-surviving-my-past-dot-net-300x250 Making Resolutions as Abuse Survivors, is there a point?

I’m going to say that just maybe there is, if I approach it differently, and here is what I’ve decided to do.

For Surviving My Past:

  • Continue to post 3 times per week, with 1 guest post per week. This is something I already do, so it should be a very achievable goal. But don’t shame myself if I miss a post for some reason now and then. 
  • Continue to post up 1 podcast per week. This is something I have recently been doing as well. But don’t shame myself if I miss a podcast for some reason, now and then. 
  • Continue to engage in Survivor Chats on Twitter every Monday. I already do this so it’s a very achievable goal.
  • Reach out to at least 10 other blogs or podcasters, and work to have them as a regular guest on SMP and/or see if they wouldn’t mind me being a guest on their site. But don’t shame myself if I don’t hit that number. 
  • Publish my first full length book by mid-summer 2017. This is already in the works.  But don’t shame myself if I miss the self-imposed deadline. 
  • Add 1 new feature to the blog. Yet to be determined but something that will add value and encouragement to everyone who reads it. Don’t shame myself if it takes a long time to find this new feature.

For me:

  • Continue to drink a homemade fruit smoothie 3 times per week. I’ve been doing this for about 3 weeks as of now. Work up to 4 times per week regularly by the spring. But don’t shame myself if I don’t do this all the time. 
  • Continue to watch my food intake using the Weight Watchers app. But don’t shame myself if I go over points now and then, and definitely take some “cheat days” here and there to enjoy a treat.
  • Continue working with my helping professional once per week, and journal about it afterwards. I have been doing this for quite a long time now, so again this is a very achievable goal. But don’t shame myself if a session has to be missed due to illness or an emergency.
  • Take more time for me, doing self-care, and find 1 new activity that makes me feel good inside. Add that 1 new activity by the end of the year. But don’t shame myself if I have problems sticking with that 1 new activity at first. 
  • Always Support Others. This is a no-brainer for me, and something I do every day. Setting this goal will make sure it’s always at the forefront of my mind when I interact with others either online or in person.

So, the keys are:

  • Add in some goals that you are already doing and that you want to keep following through on. You have a great chance of succeeding since it’s already part of your life. Talk about building self-confidence!
  • Add in 1 or 2 additions to a goal, to increase its effectiveness and broaden your horizons. Make them small, incremental, and with a general goal date. None of this, by June 17 at 4pm I need to have lost 40 lbs. or else, kind of stuff! That would drive me up a wall and set me up for failure. 
  • Add in “don’t shame myself” to every single goal to reaffirm that we need to be kind to ourselves.

So see, it’s nothing earth shattering, intimidating, and scary. It’s all about making a list of realistic expectations, and above all else….

Give yourself credit, reward yourself, and give yourself a High Five every time you take a baby step towards each goal. Share your success with trusted friends, family, and/or other survivors.

I am setting a reminder to revisit this post at the end of 2017 and see how I did…with the stipulation of Not Shaming Myself, no matter what happened.

Maybe this might work for you too!  Write some ideas that you have, and reference that list, say…once a month and see where you are with the progress. That way you aren’t constantly looking over your own shoulder; you can still do your thing and live your life, while keeping your goals fresh in your mind.

I’d love to hear your list, and I would be honored to help support you in it!

Be sure to check out the Podcast that I made to go along with this post. You can listen here, on SoundCloud, iTunes, and other platforms too!


-Matt

 

Images courtesy of Pixabay. Social Media images created using Canva.

847c5c806b7247eec7709d49a90e694a?s=100&d=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.survivingmypast.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F08%2Fsurvivor-ribbon-avatar-teal-white Making Resolutions as Abuse Survivors, is there a point?
Blogger-Podcaster-Author-Advocate for Mental Health.

Matt is survivor of childhood sexual abuse & narcissistic abuse, living with Dissociation, Anxiety, & PTSD.

This blog exists to inspire all who have survived the trauma of abuse. All posts, podcasts, and videos are my life as a survivor shared openly and honestly to help inspire as many as possible to speak up, speak out, and not be ashamed.

3 Responses to " Making Resolutions as Abuse Survivors, is there a point? "

  1. L Wool says:

    Thank you for your post, Matt! This helps to put things into perspective for me, which I sure needed today.

  2. I love it! I love it! I love what you wrote because I had to learn this about myself too, Matt. As you know, I’ll be leaving in four weeks to do my humanitarian aid work in the Philippines speaking about abuse & domestic violence & how I climbed out of darkness. The missionary pastor begged me to come a year and 1/2 ago to give away my books, Listen to the Cry of the Child, teach my Beauty Out of Ashes Support group & speak because he told me there are NO resourses there. I address shame publically now that I understand it. Shame says I did something wrong. Blame says something’s wrong with me. Shame says I did a bad thing. Blame tells me I am a bad person. When we take an identity like shame on, it takes over our whole personality & you have no idea how to shake it off! A survivor of sexual abuse is often blamed after they begin telling the horror of what happened to them long ago when they are finally able to. Have you ever read the book, Shame Off You? by Alan D. Wright? It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read about washing away the mud that hides our true selves. I use chapters in his book when I speak & it’s helped me so much understand myself & others who’s shame has become toxic.

  3. Excellent post, Matt!

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