As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many of us resolve to change something in the coming year. Whether on a personal or professional level, it’s a time when we decide that there’s a new routine to adopt or a negative habit to change.
So, do you make New Year’s resolutions or not? I haven’t made any for many years as I never kept them. I do have goals and ambitions, but I tend to review these throughout the year and update them as I progress (or not). I’ve felt for a while that there’s too much pressure to come up with a list of new habits to establish at the beginning of every year and resolutions are hard to keep. I have always struggled with, say, cutting out alcohol or not going out in January as so many of my family and friends have their birthdays early in the year.
The targets we set can be difficult to maintain once we’re back to day-to-day life and are often ambitious and unrealistic. When we don’t stick to the resolutions we’ve set, we believe we’ve let ourselves down. The feelings of failure are incredibly negative and hugely detrimental to our mental health and wellbeing.
Change your resolutions: focus on good intentions
Starting a new year feeling disappointed is stressful and challenging. Instead, consider 2019 a perfect time for reflection. Rather than making a resolution that you’re likely to break, take January as a time to revisit the positive results you achieved in 2018 or decisions you made that you are proud of. Try making a list and reading it when you start to feel low.
By all means ask yourself if your current goals need updating; has something happened that means it’s time to revaluate? The goals we set ourselves often need revising as our lives change and looking at them again with a fresh approach means the targets are more achievable. A renewed, attainable goal to work towards is a hugely positive challenge.
Self-care: make your wellbeing your priority
Revitalising our goals is not only important for professional and personal targets. Taking time to revaluate is essential for our own self-care. A brand-new resolution can place a great deal of pressure on us that can feel overwhelming. However, revisiting our goals refocuses our good intentions, beginning the year from a positive place rather than a negative.
Having spoken to friends who do like to make resolutions, I have decided that this year I will make alternative resolutions:
- to focus with intent on the goals I have already set for myself
- to grasp every opportunity that presents itself, whether work or home related
- to stay positive and ensure I mix and associate with people who make me feel positive
- to tackle difficult situations head on
- to look after my own well-being by making extra time for fun and reflection.
It’s easy to become absorbed in our jobs and in the complications of everyday life. Whilst hard work is important, we must make time for fun and enjoyment. Doing the things we love and allowing ourselves free time is crucial for our mental health, and self-care needs to become our priority. Positively focussing on your good intentions gives more time for self-reflection, and an opportunity to consider what’s right for you.