Resolution Rehab

By Dr. Theresa Nicassio

IT’S TIME TO RE-THINK The Whole Idea Of New Year’s Resolutions!

(You’re going to want to sit down and buckle your seatbelt for this one!)

Unfortunately, even the best-intentioned New Year’s Resolutions are a fertile breeding ground for self-loathing, disempowerment and shame. All too often, the end result of such “resolutions” is a sense of failure, impaired self-esteem, and hopelessness. As a psychologist, these are not the types of outcomes that I want to promote. The good news is that there is another way!

Instead of going down that same familiar downward spiral of despair, I would like to propose a new way of thinking about ringing in the New Year. In this video, I suggest a shift in mindset away from “goal-setting.” Yes, I know this idea may seem startling and perhaps even disconcerting, especially since so much of our lives are centred around setting future-oriented, measurable goals. The departure that I am suggesting may even seem like a downright rebellious act to you! That’s okay! I am super excited to challenge the status quo in many ways that we think in our society—and this is one of those rigid belief systems that is very deserving of being de-throned!

While I have a great deal more to discuss about this important topic (“goal-setting”), I want to first start with just inviting you to participate in a little experiment. The experiment is simple and has two parts. First of all, humour yourself (or even just me! ;)) by replacing your familiar notion of “goals” with either the construct “aspirations” or “intentions” and notice inside of you what happens in your thoughts and in your body by that simple replacement. Mentally and emotionally steep in whatever you discover as you do so, with your focus being on your “felt-sense” observations. Have fun with this!

Then, from this new felt-sense mindset, invite yourself to reflect on what you feel grateful for in your life up to this point in time, what you are grateful for in the present moment, and how you would like to contribute or be of service during the coming year.

As you will notice, this non-egocentric approach to reflection, assessment, and the discovery of your aspirations is very gentle on your mind, body and spirit. It is life-giving instead of stress-producing—and as I think you will discover, it is actually a far more effective pathway for sustainable behaviour change than the more familiar form of “New Year’s Resolutions”.

If you like, feel free to comment below about your experiences, discoveries and perhaps surprising reactions to this gratitude-focused experiment that enhances intentional living.

Most importantly, I hope you have as gracious a transition to 2016 as possible.



In 1997, Dr. Theresa Nicassio, a Registered Psychologist and author, found herself confronted with significant personal health challenges that she discovered 12 years later were related to gluten and other food sensitivities. Determined to find a solution to her challenges, Theresa became a Certified Integrative Energy Healing Practitioner, as well as a Certified Gourmet Raw Food Chef, Instructor, and Raw Food Nutrition Educator. In addition to providing psychological counseling since 1987, Theresa has written YUM: plant-based recipes for a gluten-free diet and contributes to public awareness of holistic health through her blog Yum Food for Living, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media outlets.

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