The start of the New Year can be considered one of the most stressful periods of the year for several reasons. Younger ones may experience anxiety because of a new school environment (Related reading: Back-to-school Anxiety) while working adults may feel nervous about work-related uncertainties or added responsibilities for the year ahead. However, there is one common stress point faced by many of us across age range and life stages – New Year’s resolutions.
While New Year’s resolutions such as being healthier or improving personal finances, if accomplished, can be beneficial to our lives, they may also cause us excessive stress and pressure if approached in an unhealthy or unrealistic way. Such stress may make you feel unmotivated, prevent you from moving forward in your goal, or even lead you to feel lousy about yourself for failing.
How can we go about setting and achieving our New Year’s resolutions? We share more in this article.
STARTING STRONG WITH REALISTIC GOALS
The first step to starting strong is to set realistic goals which you would be able to achieve by implementing small and manageable changes in your life.1 For example, if you are new to exercise, avoid grand resolutions such as “completing a full marathon this year”. Instead, break that down into smaller achievable goals such as taking part in a charity run with a shorter distance of 5km by mid-year, then work towards another charity run with a longer distance of 10km by the end of the year, for example.
3 HACKS TO ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS
Once you have determined your New Year’s resolutions, put in place a strategy to help you achieve them. Here are three hacks to help you keep on track and bring you one step closer to achieving your New Year’s resolutions:
1. Focus on one goal at a time
Having too many goals at once can be daunting! Focusing on a single specific goal makes keeping the resolution much more achievable.
Achieving one small goal can boost your self-esteem. For larger goals, break them down into manageable chunks to work on instead.
2. Start with small steps
Taking on too much too quickly is a common reason why many resolutions fail. Start with small steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal. For example, if you have resolved to volunteer more frequently, start by doing so once a month, then slowly increasing the frequency to once a fortnight, and then weekly.
3. Grab a friend and do it together
Having a buddy can help you stay motivated and accountable. Doing it with a friend can also make sticking to your resolution more fun.
Explain what your goals are to your close friends or family members and ask them to help you achieve your objectives.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Things do not always go according to plan despite our best efforts and intentions – and that is okay! Most times, it is not about if we veer off track but more about when and by how much.
Be kind to yourself and accept that you may break your goals and resolutions. When that happens, do not beat yourself up. Instead, focus on how to get back on track. Examine what may have gone wrong and tweak your goals where necessary to better set yourself up for success.
Resolutions are made because we want to better ourselves and improve our lives. So, let us not stress and beat ourselves up over them, but savour the process as a journey towards better physical, mental and general wellbeing.
Feeling overwhelmed by the uncertainties and demands of the New Year and need a listening ear? Speak to us! TOUCH Mental Wellness is just a phone call away. Simply call the TOUCHline at 1800 377 2252 (Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm) to speak with a counsellor.
TOUCH Mental Wellness (TMW) runs personalised therapy and counselling programmes to empower individuals to rise above their circumstances. An advocate of mental wellness, TMW has been organising mental wellness awareness mass runs, talks and workshops since 2015. It works closely with corporations to conduct mental wellness talks with an aim of equipping employees with handles to cope with stress and help them build resilience. It also specialises in mental wellness awareness and educational programmes for schools.