How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? For some, the New Year feels like a light at the end of the tunnel. A fresh start. Some people impacted by seasonal depression find this time of year a little more hopeful. New Year’s resolutions feel like the thing that might pull you out of a funk.
In some cases, lofty New Year’s resolutions can feel daunting and overwhelm us, causing us to sink lower. We might feel worse about ourselves when we don’t complete them. So, how can we avoid the feeling of failure if we don’t achieve our goals for the new year?
1. SET INTENTIONS, NOT RESOLUTIONS
Look at this as a time of bettering yourself. Instead of giving yourself homework, something you absolutely have to get done, look at your resolutions as areas of your life in which you can be more intentional and mindful. Hard and fast resolutions can often lead to one not achieving the, and subsequently a feeling of failure. Instead of a resolution of writing in your journal every day, maybe set the intention to journal more when you’re feeling discombobulated. Keep it out somewhere you can see it to remind you.
2. STAY AWAY FROM WEIGHT-RELATED GOALS
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is the resolution to lose weight, to become more “toned” or to stay away from junk food completely. This may lead someone to calorie count or become hyper focused on what they are putting into their body. This can cause disordered eating behaviors. Instead, maybe set an intention to try yoga or find a form of movement that feels good to you. You might try incorporating gentle nutrition into your daily life by eating more regularly and picking foods you know make you feel energized.
3. ADD, RATHER THAN SUBTRACT
Instead of decreasing behavior, which often feels like punishment, add some behaviors you know make you feel good. One might be, spending more time with loved ones, being more mindful of what you are grateful for, or incorporating more gentle movement into your week through walks. Usually, doing things that make us feel whole decreases negative behaviors without all the negative self- talk.
4. BE REALISTIC IN YOUR RESOLUTIONS
Have you ever had a New Years resolution fail because it was almost impossible to complete? Sometimes, we set ourselves up for failure because our goals are huge and unforgiving. Not that reaching for the stars is a negative, but realistic expectations for oneself are often the ones we end up achieving. Committing to living a zero waste life may be impossible for most due to the state of our world, but planning to keep reusable bags in the trunk of your car for shopping trips may be more manageable, and create more change than setting a goal and failing it in the first week of the New Year, causing you to abandon all efforts to become sustainable.
5. REMEMBER, NOT ALL CHANGE IS IMMEDIATELY TANGIBLE
Sometimes in measuring our progress and accomplishments, we look for very tangible proof of our hard work, this can lead to feelings of failure. And sometimes, change is not so immediate and oftentimes it is not something we can measure in pounds or with an excel spreadsheet. Sometimes, we recognize we’re having more good days than bad, we’re feeling more comfortable in our own skin, or we’re smiling more. That kind of change is huge and important and magical too! Check in with yourself. Are you feeling lighter? And are you spending more time with the people you love? Are you able to get out of bed a little easier one day?
6. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
Grace is very easy to extend to others, but giving yourself the same leeway you give to those you love feels impossible at times. When you do not reach a specific intention for yourself, give yourself the same response you would give someone you loved who came to you and told you of their failure. Give yourself the space to start again. In a world that feels harsh at times, give yourself the beauty of softness.
Sometimes, some self-compassion can be exactly what you need to start again and achieve more the next day.
Want to discuss your goals for the new year with one of our counselors? Awesome! Send us a message or give us a call!