There’s a lot of focus on making resolutions in January. Even if you didn’t make a resolution on New Year’s Day, you probably had an idea of one you wanted to follow from here on out. You may even be in the midst of trying to accomplish this goal, and you might be finding yourself falling a little short of where you think you should be.
It’s a common problem, and for a few people, it’s one that happens every new year. You put so much pressure on yourself to make a change (and make a dramatic one) that you set yourself up to fail from the beginning. It’s a vicious cycle you might not even realize you’re stuck in.
Guess what? It’s time to break the habit! Staying healthy during Christmas is hard enough; you shouldn’t open the new year on a note that’s equally as punishing. This could really be your year, but only if you let yourself make mistakes and don’t beat yourself up over them. To help you out with that, I’ve got some tips below that could help you stay on track with feeling good over the next 12 months!
How To Take The Pressure Out Of The New Year: Tips For Your Health
What’s Your Resolution Setting Process?
How do you make a resolution when the new year rolls round? When choosing something to change or work on for the year ahead, what tends to be at the top of your list? And how do you decide it’s more important than anything else? Having priorities is good no matter, but sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking that something is a bigger deal than it really is.
That’s why you should take resolution setting seriously. It’s not something to decide on the fly when you want to make a true commitment. Say you want to quit smoking over the next few months, but you also get the idea one day that it’d be great to write a book – which one would be better for your health? Overwhelmingly it’s your health, but that can be hard to remember when you’re in the moment and feeling excited about a potential project.
Instead of being swept away by the idea of one day becoming a famous author, save your resolution for something that could impact you in the here and now. Even just 20 minutes of going without a cigarette have long lasting implications for your brain and body.
Also, it’s best to only make one resolution at a time! You need to focus on one thing and one thing only, that’s why I recommend the process below.
Make a Small Resolution
Start with something small – something that’s actually quite easy to achieve. This way you’ll motivate yourself over time while consistently achieving the next thing. It’s the concept of baby steps applied to the max.
Going back to that idea of writing your own novel – coming up with a title could be a good first step. You can then move onto deciding the setting and how many characters are going to be involved. Then draft out a structured plan. Then it’s time to start writing a few sentences.
No matter what you want to do in the new year, starting small starts you right. The more you accomplish, the more you get into the swing of things. Think of it as a snowball rolling down a very snowy hill, becoming bigger and bigger as it gets towards the bottom. That’s what your year could turn into when you plan for a positive spin.
Make a Medium Resolution
A medium resolution is what you prime yourself for when you complete two or three small resolutions. Now you’re in the frame of mind where failure is far away, and you’re feeling stronger and more sure of your choice. You’re in a position where you can make an active choice to commit, and you want to keep going.
This is where it might get a bit challenging, as a medium resolution is going to require more effort. These resolutions involve naturally bigger tasks, like writing the entire first chapter of your novel. However, you’re ready for the work ahead! You’ve proved it time and time again, and you’re probably raring to go.
And while this is a good thing, make sure you don’t rush yourself into making new plans and new resolutions and end up getting stuck. You don’t want to put yourself back at square one due to a sense of impatience.
Start Thinking About an End of Year Goal
It might feel like you should complete this process the other way round. After all, how are you supposed to work towards something if you don’t know what you’re working towards? Well, for someone who has time and time again broken their resolutions, starting small and taking baby steps is best.
Once you’ve ticked these off and gained some confidence in yourself, you can start thinking about that overarching goal you’ve always wanted to achieve. Completing your book, being 12 months off of cigarettes, being able to make at least half the clothes you own yourself – these all count as overarching goals that take a lot of effort.
Once you’ve completed the two steps before this, or you feel like you’re in the right position to move ahead, start thinking about this ‘final’ resolution. It’s going to take time to get there, but you’re probably a lot more excited about the possibility now.
Failing Isn’t Final
You’ve failed to keep up with your resolution for a couple days and it’s just hit you that you’ve failed at achieving it. There goes another resolution – you couldn’t commit, and now it’s over!
But is it? Is it really fair to write off all of your other progress like this? After all, failing is never final. If you miss a few days, for any reason, you’re allowed to get straight back into the habit. With just a little bit of effort right now, you could be right back into the swing of things.
It’s part of the mantra that’s common in a detox program, and you can apply it to your habit building efforts as well. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress; you’re still in a different position to where you started. Now’s the time to realize what happened and move yourself forward again.
New Year isn’t the Only Fresh Start
You can make a fresh start on any day of the year! It feels better to set a resolution on January 1st, as it’s the first day of the year and marks a change the whole world over. But, if that day (and subsequently the month) went a little wrong for you, you’re entitled to a ‘do over’.
What to Remember When Making Your New Year’s Resolution
When you make a resolution in the new year, you mean well. You want to change something for the better for the year ahead, and you want to get the year started off perfectly. But that’s where the issue arises from. The more you try to make the new year the best you’ve ever had, the more you’re going to put the pressure on.
This can lead to a lot of self deprecation down the line, and what was going to be amazing for you turns out to be just as bad as every other year. So let’s be gentler in 2024. If you want to make a resolution and commit to it, remember the points above.