Our member Andrew Harvey says a “hiccup” does not have to be the end of your New Year’s resolution.

Andrew says the lessons learned from a “lapse” can be invaluable in helping you to achieve your goal.

“If you have a hiccup, lapse or relapse and can learn from it, that is gold,” said Andrew, who is based in Nottingham.

“If you have a lapse and just beat yourself up, there’s a thing called the abstinence violation effect, and what it means is I’ve failed so I’ll fail.

“We’ve all done it. We can really get caught up in that and spend all day in it and bathe in it. We are probably not going to get up tomorrow and try again.

“But if we can be kind to ourselves and go ‘okay, so what can I learn from that? What more do I need? What do I need to find out? Why did that happen?’

“In a kind, compassionate way to self, I think that is gold. I’m not encouraging people to break their resolutions but if you do let’s use it.”

Andrew, who works in private practice and for a supplier of mental health and addiction therapy services, was talking to BBC Radio Nottingham during a discussion on New Year’s resolutions.

He encouraged those people who have set resolutions to be reasonable on themselves if they slip.

Compassionate coach

“I encourage people to have a compassionate coach within them,” he said. “Let’s change the inner critic for the compassionate coach.

“Who do you want teaching your children? Who do you want looking after your grandchildren? That critic or that compassionate coach?

“If we can apply that to self, that is great.

“Okay, so I really want to make this change and then I did that today, what was going on? I know, I was a bit stressed or I wasn’t doing the things I was doing a few weeks ago when I started this change.

“Whatever it is, I didn’t do the things I started doing at the start, it’s normally that. We can learn from that.”

He added: “Be nice to self. That compassionate coach is a lovely thing.

“To keep these resolutions going, keep digging into the values on a regular basis. At the start, we’re clear about why we’re doing this and how we’re going to do it and then come day 15 we’ve kind of forgotten that and we’re just into the grind of it.

“What about digging into what it was like on January 1? Why did you make this change? What’s it going to be like when you have made the change? What’s it going to be like if you don’t make the change?


“If you connect with that on a daily basis, it keeps it really fresh.”

The support of family, friends or other people with similar goals can help you make long-lasting change. Seeking help from a BACP counsellor or psychotherapist could also give you the tools to achieve your goals.

“One of the tips is to connect with others who might be making a similar change,” said Andrew. “You could do that on a social media forum or your friends and family.

“If you are doing it together, I think it’s a lot easier because you can encourage others, which we know is great for self, but also seek encouragement, tips and practical advice.”

To find a counsellor near you who can help with change, visit our Therapist directory.