So, it’s the end of the year, time to think about all the ways that next year is going to be better for you and create those dreaded New Year’s resolutions. But what if you didn’t make them this year? If you are already thinking about all the ways that your resolutions may fail and all of the ways that the changes you want to make could go wrong, chances are the changes you are looking to make are not going to stick.
But why does this happen? Today we’re going to dive into why New Year’s Resolutions are so stressful. We’ll also discuss what you can do instead of making these resolutions to make more sustainable (and less intimidating) shifts in your life this new year.
Why Are New Year’s Resolutions So Stressful?
Many of us think that the only way that we are going to make changes in our lives is by making big changes all at once. But think about it like you would if you were learning a new skill. If you are trying to learn something new and you start piling lessons, practices, and expectations onto your plate, it’s only a matter of time until you burn out. Big New Year’s resolutions are the exact same thing. If you make these resolutions too big, you’re running the risk of burning out before you can achieve your goals.
So, instead of opting for the daunting “resolutions” this year, try simply setting some intentions for your year. Do you want to spend more time focusing on your mental health this year? Do you want to really work on building strength and muscle and creating a healthy gym routine?
No matter what you want to work on this year, take some time to just think about what your priorities are this year and what you want to work on. Then, give yourself the time and space to set those intentions for the new year.
How to Set Successful Intentions This New Year
Rather than making far-reaching goals or dramatic life changes all at once, think about taking a slower approach this year. Remember, slow and steady wins the race — especially when we’re talking about ways to improve our health, happiness, and overall life.
So, without further ado, here are some tips to help you set and stick to your goals this new year.
Make It Measurable
The first trick to making goals that you will actually achieve is making sure that they are measurable. Think about it like this, if you set an intention to “be healthier” this year, chances are a few months or even weeks into the year, you’re going to run into trouble. This is because you haven’t given yourself anything to go off of.
Maybe instead of saying, “be healthier,” you can say, “I’ll only have dessert a couple times a week instead of every day,” or “I will include one extra vegetable into my lunch/dinner each day.”
Start Out Slow
Have you ever decided that you’re going to do something and then immediately gotten overwhelmed by the number of steps it takes to get that thing done? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Sometimes we don’t really think about how much goes into making new habits or changing old habits. Spoiler alert, it’s a lot of work.
So, instead of setting yourself up for disappointment and overwhelm, set yourself up for success by starting with a small goal at a time. Once you achieve that goal, you can move on to the next part of your bigger goal.
Track Your Progress
Alright, let’s be real, after a month, or so of not really noticing any differences (in our physical health, appearance, happiness, or anything else), it can be really, really tempting to just abandon our goals and go back to our old habits.
To prevent this from happening, take the time to really track the progress you are making. A lot of the time, we may be unaware of the amount of improvement we are making if we only check in every so often. Maybe for you, this means keeping a journal and noting your progress day-to-day. Maybe it means having an accountability buddy who is working towards the same goal as you are and checking in with them frequently.
There are many ways that you can track your progress; the idea is to have a physical log of where you began and where you are now. This can help you better see the progress you are making (even if you don’t notice it daily).
Appreciate Your Efforts
It can be easy to forget to appreciate the work we put into things. Many of us tend to think more about our failures than our successes. This is actually natural, and it can be a very hard habit to break. But, if you take time to intentionally appreciate the progress you have made — maybe even reward yourself with a self-care day — you will be much more likely to stick to your goals.
Get External Support
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to do or where to start on your own. Luckily, you do not have to do everything on your own — even something as personal as goals for yourself. For a lot of people, having an external support system, whether that means family, friends, or a therapist, can be exactly what is needed to make changes in life.
So, if you’re looking to start setting your intentions for the new year, but you are looking for that support system or aren’t sure where to begin, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow to connect with one of our therapists.