In the latest installment of our conversations with Fort Worth newsmakers, Randi Beyl, licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical director at the Texas Health Recovery and Wellness Center in Mansfield, discusses how a lack of self-awareness can impede a New Year’s resolution and how to navigate your goals with grace.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. For a longer version, please listen to the audio file attached to this article.
Alexis Allison: So, Randi, we’re almost to the New Year. For some people, that means crafting a New Year’s resolution. I’m wondering, do you make resolutions for yourself?
Randi Beyl: That’s a great question. I definitely make resolutions for myself, and I am very much looking forward to the new year for that reason. Jan. 1, for me, often signifies the start of something new. And when I think of the start of something new, I think of a resolution. I’m a goal-driven person — a check-the-boxes, To-Do List person. So I’m actually very much looking forward to the new year and several resolutions that I have in mind.
Allison: Thank you for sharing. Why do people feel the need to create New Year’s resolutions?
Beyl: I hear this with a lot of my clients and the patients that we serve: (A resolution) typically falls under the category of goals, and those people that tend to be more goal-driven, ambitious are looking forward to setting some standards for themselves. And in that context, I think that the goals serve as underlying motivation to look forward to something.
Allison: In preparing for our conversation, I saw different data points that suggest that many people don’t actually follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. I’m wondering why that is — what gets in the way?
Beyl: I think one piece is our level of self-awareness: Can we look deep inside ourselves? And do we have that ability (to gauge) realistic barriers, realistic goals? Identifying, have things worked in the past? Are things likely to work moving forward?
Allison: I have, at times, thought of myself as a self-aware person, but then I’m not quite sure. I’m wondering, is there any strategy you can give us to help us increase our self-awareness?
Beyl: Gosh, that’s a good question. Self-awareness, I think it’s just such an individual concept because everyone has different barriers — environmental, social — that can play in, and what works for you may not work for me.
But (in goal-setting), being aware, like, if you’re constantly setting a goal, do you have the awareness to understand why you haven’t successfully completed it in the past? Or you’ve completed it, but then went backward?
Allison: What are some of the possible consequences for people if they don’t follow through with their New Year’s resolutions?
Beyl: Two really strong emotions: guilt and shame. I often tell people, although society (labels) guilt and shame as negative emotions, to create a positive relationship with them and learn something from those emotions rather than running from them. Sometimes by running, we don’t learn, whereas, if we lean in, and we say, OK, I’m feeling a certain way, and it’s an icky feeling because I didn’t lose those 20 pounds that I wanted to lose, we feel like we failed miserably. Leaning in, bringing it full circle, (helps with) that self-awareness.
Allison: For people who are listening and working on their own resolutions: What recommendations would you have for how they can make resolutions that they’ll finish?
Beyl: My favorite word for 2022 — and I might even adopt it for 2023 — is grace. You’re trying, and that speaks volumes to your level of motivation and your ability to look past this moment and into your future and say, ‘Hey, these are some things that I’d like to do to better myself.’
I’d also recommend a strong support system, finding some friends or family members that maybe share the same goal. And another piece of it is talking about those goals and setting boundaries with people.
As the clinical director here at the Recovery and Wellness Center, I’m thinking of substance abuse goals. A lot of times people are wanting to maybe stop smoking, stop drinking. And when I think of boundaries, I think of like, what are you going to communicate to your friends and family if your goal is to reduce your drinking? Or eliminate drinking from your lifestyle? What do those conversations look like?
Allison: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
Beyl: I just want to say grace again. Because as we’re entering 2023, anyone who wants to set goals and resolutions — I think it’s a fun idea, it’s an exciting idea. We’re looking forward to a new year, a new you, new possibilities, new everything. But in all of that, give yourself grace. You know, maybe don’t set outrageous goals. If you’ve never lost weight before, don’t make it a goal to lose 100 pounds. Start small and look for support. Look for people that can really genuinely support you in these goals. And work together.
Alexis Allison is the health reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Her position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.