The days in between Christmas and the New Year are usually a time of reflecting on the past year and reaffirming or setting new goals for the coming year. By December 31, most people have set a firm resolution for themselves: lose weight, read more, work harder, pay off that credit card, quit their dead-end job, and so on.
But come February, we see a strange and widespread phenomenon: gym memberships are neglected and books lay tossed on the nightstand only half-finished.
So What Happens Next?
You’ve already blown it, and you just don’t have the same motivation you did in January. Maybe you were too ambitious with your resolutions. Or maybe you picked resolutions that just weren’t right for you. So, you think to yourself, you’ll try again next year.
And thus, the cycle repeats.
But honestly, maybe that gym was too far of a commute, and maybe that book was just not your cup of tea- and that’s okay!
Pause for a minute to think about the end goal of your New Year’s resolution. Is it simply to go to the gym, or is it to build healthy habits? Is it reading X number of books or is it finding the joy in reading again?
More often than not, our resolutions are abstract obligations we assign to ourselves because we think they will serve some greater purpose in our lives. We can find ourselves using the New Year as a way to trick ourselves into complying with a strict regimen that would otherwise not agree with us. Then, after a month or two, it just leaves us feeling like a failure.
We might be recovering from a difficult experience, loss, or trauma from the past year and we often try to distract ourselves by going all-in on an unrealistic and unattainable “resolution” without addressing the root of the problem.
Honestly, it’s all gotten quite out of hand.
The New Year should not be a time for guilt, suppressing emotions, and chasing after superficial goals. Many common “resolutions” are not things that bring us happiness and peace in the long term.
What truly leads to happiness (and I’m talking true, long-term, contentedness) is consistently working towards our true values, holding on to what drives us, and being honest with ourselves.
If you can’t realistically make it to the gym every day, go for a walk or do some yoga in your living room! There is more than one way to achieve better health!
Not to Rain on Anyone’s New Year Parade…
If the New Year truly does motivate you to start a new healthy habit, then by all means, go for it. But keep in mind that if you go in too hard and too fast, you are going to fizzle out. If this does happen, the best thing you can do is be kind to yourself.
Don’t give it all up because of one slip up- it happens to everyone. If you need to adjust your goals to something that is more achievable, that does not make you a failure. It actually means you are more successful than the 80% of people who give up on their New Year’s resolutions completely.
Conversely, you don’t need to wait for the New Year to start something new. If you know you need to make a change or are hit with a spark of motivation, take advantage of it! Self-improvement is a life-long venture, not just an annual event.
At the end of the day (or year), a steady, consistent habit that you stick to is going to be what truly drives change in your life. So, stop looking at resolutions as a holiday fad and start thinking about what steps you can take to start making long-term changes in your life.
Need some tips to help keep you on track?
- Get family and friends involved to keep you accountable and to make it more fun!
- Keep a journal to track your progress
- Go easy on yourself- if you slip up, try again the next day
- Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals as needed
- Find joy in your resolutions
If you set a goal to go jogging every day but find you hate jogging, you are not going to stick with it. Find an activity you enjoy that also gets you moving!
If you are looking for a unique way to set an intention for 2020 other than a traditional “resolution,” check out this list on 10 creative alternatives to ring in the new year.
You might instead want to focus on reflection- what you loved most about this past year and what areas you want to improve on. A gratitude journal or even a simple list is a great way to end the year on a positive note to prepare for an even better 2020.
What are your thoughts on New Year’s resolutions? Are you setting any for yourself this year, or are you forgoing the tradition? Let us know in the comments below. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the new year, make it a happy and peaceful one!Tags: holiday, mindfulness, new year, resolution