NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS REVISITED: Communication, Conflict, and Goals – what’s the connection?


A little while ago, I posted some tips on carrying out New Year’s resolutions. (See post below this one.) Then I re-read what I wrote and realized that it isn’t obvious how this topic fits in with my overall theme of effective communication, anger, conflict in the family and at work.

On-going challenges managing anger and resolving conflict usually don’t just appear out of nowhere! The sequence frequently goes like this: Stressful situations happen. Skills to deal with that stress just haven’t yet been learned and practiced. When we can no longer manage that stress, when we don’t know how to let others know what’s going on, when we don’t know how to monitor and cope with our own feelings, frustration grows and eventually, for some people, that results in anger acted out and conflict instead of communication.

So what does that have to do with New Year’s resolutions? Take a look at the resolutions you’ve made or have heard from others, and you’ll probably figure it out. Many, if not most, resolutions are born of stress and frustration. The plan usually is to make changes in all those areas that have been most challenging for us. And, of course, those are apt to be the areas that also cause us the most stress and frustration.

New Year’s Resolutions made out of desparation and frustration, if not carried out, simply become part of that circle of stress. Sort of like this: I’m stressed and disappointed that I’m not doing X. Now the new year is starting and I’m still not doing it – but now I will. I promise!! Then, predictably for many, X is still not done, and stress increases through the year – until we begin the next round of magical thinking we call New Year’s resolutions.

For tips on how to approach those resolutions, so that you can feel more successful and less stressed and angry, scroll down to the post just below this one.


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