Column: Stopping the stigma of sticking to New Years Resolutions

Source: Pikist

By Megan Evans | Advice Editor

I think a lot of us are aware when the New Year starts appearing around the corner, that it becomes this overwhelming time where you begin reflecting upon the events that have unfolded. It also marks the beginning of making that conscientious list of all the things that you maybe didn’t get the chance to accomplish within the year previous, that you oh so desperately need to attain for the next year.

As like Bridget Jones at the beginning of her astounding diary, where she tears apart her life and the things that she actively needs to change, becomes a harsh reality for some i.e to lose weight, to attempt to cut down on drinking, to not be defeated by any problems circulating around relationships, or all of the above for that matter.

I would like there to be an element of inclusivity when it comes to making these resolutions a reality, as I feel like every year I promise myself I will start ‘getting everything together’, but how was I supposed to know that a global pandemic would shape the way that the rest of the year would like, and thereby, most of my time was spent reflecting and consciously picking apart all of the events, birthdays and parties that I would be missing out on?

There is also a stigma behind keeping these resolutions as if it’s a matter of life and death. The moment you start trailing off on these wishful thinkings, then you are what you deem to be a ‘fail’. Studies have shown that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail.

I think with 2020 being a year that none expected to pan out the way it had, we should be a lot more forgiving to ourselves, particularly a time with uncertainty looming over everything else.

If you are planning to make some new resolutions this year, make them a bit more realistic. Or, maybe don’t make any at all?

According to YouGov, Great Britain showed statistics from 2019 that showed resolutions reflected heavily on more exercise (47%)  losing weight (44%), and improving diet (41%).

But, maybe we shouldn’t be harsh on a healthy body, but more so on a healthy mind?

I think I have learned a lot over the years to realize the best ways of keeping resolutions or ways in which they can benefit you much more than sticking to strict regimes:

Live in the moment

It’s good to have a goal in mind, when you want to be healthier, or achieve something that may have been brewing on your mind, but make sure this doesn’t affect your day to day life. Make sure you are constantly alert to what is going on around you but don’t restrict yourself to only eating certain foods, or going to the gym a certain amount of times a week. You’ll have much more fun by doing what you want, and not having that extra pressure on yourself. The reality is, you probably have so much on your plate already, and thinking about those things that you ‘should’ve done’, can impact you more.

Crave out me-time

If you feel like you don’t spend enough time actually doing those small things you’ve always wished to do, now is the right time. Instead of pleasing your friends or family members, spend an evening a week doing what you know will make you feel better. If that’s joining a club, drawing, cooking, or reading a good book, so do it. Life does become a hub of constant go go go, and sometimes you just need to sit back and switch off from the outside, and that is okay and perfectly normal. New Year, New Me should have a lot of emphasis on the ‘Me’ rather than ‘New’, because making small changes is beneficial, but it’s good to know exactly how you like doing things. 

Declutter and Revalue old goods

I think embarking nature into a new year resembles strongly with getting rid of the old ways and old feelings that you felt the year previous. It’s good to reflect, but not to the point of it holding you back.

In a throw-away society world, we could be a lot better off getting rid of unnecessary objects/clothes/friendships that aren’t already benefiting you, or hobbies that you are only doing to better yourself, but you don’t wholeheartedly enjoy doing. Embrace this time, to actually think what good is it to have all of these things, that hold no value to your life anymore. I also find getting rid of clothes much more rewarding as they are being passed on to somebody else to love, rather than holding on to them and know it’s just taking up space.

A new year is all about giving more value to the things you care about, and less emphasis on the things that don’t give you satisfaction anymore.

Be Happy – as much as you can NOW

A lot of people use this statement ‘I’ll be happy when…’ and not within the present moment unless something drastic has changed. Don’t try and wait until the right time for you to be happy at the right moment. As much as it is easy to say you can be happy when you are doing everything you want to do, focus on little intimate moments now. If that is cooking a nice meal, watching a good movie with a family member, or messaging an old friend, do it. Live in the moment of today, and try not to think negatively about what is about to happen in the future. With the restrictions still having a drastic effect on our lives, keep as motivated as you can at the moment, and try not to look outwardly to the future as a source for happy thoughts.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself

If there are little ways you want to improve on, the New Year should not be the only method of conducting and sticking to them. Try and spend less time listening to that critical voice that states ‘I need to sort this out’, and ‘I need to improve on this area of my life’ and plan ways in which you can feel better and motivate yourself moving forward, that isn’t from your insecurities.

List out things that you want to achieve, and put this into practice. If you want to exercise and become healthier, implement healthy eating, or regular walks into your daily routine. If you are desperate to organize time better, get a new planner, and start putting everything you need to do into a table.

Try not to spend all your time criticizing every aspect of your life, because it isn’t healthy and this can lead to unproductivity and a deeper decline in mental health.


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