5 Practices to Set Yourself Up for Success in the New Year

Grant H Brenner
6 min readDec 21, 2022

Resolutions are great, but planning and follow-through win the day.

Photo by Polina Kovaleva/Pexels

New Year’s Resolutions are popular, even seductive, alleviating anxiety about long-unmet goals from a quick-fix mindset. Let’s face it, though-we often make them with a wink and a nod, recognizing that traditionally they don’t stick. Let’s instead set ourselves up to pursue what we really need and desire.

Many people try to get motivated from a harsh and unforgiving place, essentially treating themselves as someone they expect-almost want-to fail. A “loser.” Don’t do that! Change it up!

Stemming from a self-critical mindset, typically internalized from how our parents and schools taught us to see ourselves, the assumption is that by being “strong,” we can overcome resistance and make changes. If we fail at that, then we are “weak,” possibly contemptible. If we succeed, we reinforce harsh internalized self-parenting, often driving ourselves to a state of chronic burnout to keep proving we are good enough-while deep down feeling like we aren’t.

So, how can we move away from this vicious cycle, to one which is sustainable, resilient, and ultimately more rewarding and satisfying?

1. Cultivate a growth mindset.

While your primary goal may be, for example, to get in shape in the New Year, adopt lifelong learning as an overarching mindset. This means that whatever it is we’re working toward, we are always on some level interested in our own developmental needs.

Drawing on the four parenting styles, practicing good self-parenting means being authoritative, rather than authoritarian, permissive indulgent, or permissive neglectful. Authoritative parenting involves three fundamentals: self-compassion, warmth, and kindness toward oneself; setting clear guidelines and expectations for our own behavior; and avoiding self-gaslighting or over-analyzing our own decisions. Self-reflection is essential, but spinning into excessive self-doubt or obsession leads to stuckness.

2. Plan across different time scales.

Think about what you want in the short-, middle-, and long-term-realize that it is an ecosystem where different planning…

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Grant H Brenner

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Disaster Responder, Advocate, Photographer