The New Year’s Resolution Trap and How to Escape it!
There is a very popular mindset that comes with the beginning of a new year that can feel like it will make or break our year. “New year, new me” is one of the most exciting, energizing, and positive phrases that people bring into the new year. We feel like setting goals, pushing ourselves to do better and that we can take on the world, but this can sometimes come at a cost that can hinder us from achieving new goals.
The first downside of this mindset is that we disregard all the success we have had in the past year, and all the goals we did achieve by setting a new bar that is even higher for ourselves. When we ignore all that, we have already done we end up dismissing ourselves and ultimately reducing our motivation to do more. The first step to reaching your full new potential in a new year is to appreciate and be grateful for all that you have already accomplished before setting your new goals. This allows a more positive and kinder perspective in while you work on challenging yourself to do better.
The second issue with setting new year’s resolutions is often, we set that bar too high and expect too much of ourselves. This leads to disappointment and demotivation when it comes to achieving our goals. So, when making new goals, it is best to not just to make goals in one area of our lives (“I need to lose 5 kg this year!”) and rather focus on a broader approach (“I am going to treat my body with more kindness and a healthier approach this year”). You can still add specific goals under these headings like “I will try to do Yoga 2 times a week this year” or “I will try to go for a walk every day”, but the key word to note is TRY which means it is okay if you don’t achieve this goal EVERY DAY.
Later on you may be thinking, “well I have already set my goals, it is almost the end of January, this isn’t helpful now!”. That thinking is part of the overall problem with setting these resolutions. You don’t need it to be January first to take charge and set new and healthy goals or change the goals you have already set. When you start to feel negative about a goal you feel like you are not achieving, change it. “I will read 1 book a week” can become “once a week I will read instead of being on my phone”. It is important to be kind to yourself and allow yourself space to change and adapt to new goals and ambitions as the year progresses.
It can be so hard to meet our own expectations of ourselves or what we think the world is asking of us. Setting rigid goals and high standards for ourselves can have a toxic impact on our mental health that can have lasting damaging effects such as lower mood, anxiety, constant stress and even result in physical health problems (crash dieting, sleeplessness body tension). It is okay to ask for help! These last couple years have made life difficult in so many ways and learning how to set and achieve new goals in a healthy way can be difficult for many. You are not alone in that, and it can be a relief to get some help navigating through all this from a trained psychologist or life coach. Getting help before there is a problem is a great way to embrace a new year!