Police Psychology: New Year’s Resolutions

Posted: January 5, 2017 in Mastering Change
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Police Psychology:  New Year’s Resolutions

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


I asked my intern what her New Year’s Resolutions were and she said she wanted to go to the gym more often, graduate college and get a job. She also wanted to make her room less messy. I want to be able to still remember when I graduated college, or got my first real job, and I have given up long ago on the gym or the clean office. “I can’t stand all the disgusting youth at the gym. It’s all over the place.” Her resolutions don’t really help me decide mine. I must find someone else. I must ask my patients.

Less anxious, less angry, happier, less complaining, drink less, etc. My patients weren’t much help either. I actually need to drink more (red wine is good for the heart), get angry on more occasions, and care enough about things to give a damn about complaining. Where will the search for a resolution lead me next. Sure, I need to lose weight, clean up the office and ten thousand things around work, but what about real resolutions.

The New Year’s resolution was a tradition that came out of pagan religions. They either promised their gods to pay debts, or sacrificed a ram to Janus, the Roman god of beginnings where January is derived from, or in the case of Jewish people after Rosh Hashanah, plan to be better people. The Catholics have Lent, which is their time for resolutions, and many people tie the tradition of Lent back to the real start of the New Year’s resolution. In reality, this New Year’s tradition runs deep and across many religions and beliefs.

So about 88% fail in their resolution in the first month. That is a statistic that is probably made up. Most just forget them. But some seem to make it happen.

So how do you make a good resolution? Well it is really just goal setting. Resolution rules: Don’t make a long-term goal that is amorphous. Don’t make a long-term goal you can’t measure. Don’t make a long-term goal that few care about.

Do make a resolution that is short-term. Weekly or monthly goals that have certain defined behaviors in them are a good start.

Make the goal you want measurable. Have a way to know if it is working and be able to adjust if it is not.

Make the goal something that others care about. If they don’t care about it, make sure they do.

I want to set a resolution to get more subscribers and more sponsors. I want to contact 5 potential sponsors a month at the start and one agency to team up with. I am also going to offer myself out to do POST trainings across the country (I had done these before for years but stopped after heart surgery). I will look at results of the campaign on a monthly basis. That’s how you define resolutions.  I will let you know my progress.

It is that simple.

Make your resolution in this formula and you will be alright. If you need help, let me know.

Hopefully next week I have awesome video for you.


Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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