It’s a new year, but there's no need to start worrying about resolutions. Traditional New Year's resolutions fail because they are generally based on negative feelings; things about yourself that you are not satisfied or happy with. It may seem motivating at first, but they can actually create feelings of anxiety, decreased self-worth, and eventually lead to worsened mental health. New Year's resolutions are also built on procrastination, as the idea is meant to start on January 1st, instead of trying to focus on improvement and goals all year round. Studies have shown that 80% of people fail their resolutions. Finding alternatives to resolutions can help you improve wellness and can create lasting change. Here are five to try:
Create a list of things to look forward to- This list should include things you want to or hope to do like go to different events, try new activities, new hobbies, etc. It should be a mix of big and small things. Creating a list has benefits that are scientifically proven because it has things you are looking forward to (which is a more positive experience). People tend to be happier in anticipation of emotional events that are positive, instead of things they don’t like.
Keep track of your healthy habits- Keeping track of anything positive is a reminder that there is good in your life and you have accomplished things you’ve wanted. This will motivate you to continue to make positive changes in your life and when you feel like you’ve failed, it can be an encouragement to try again.
Develop a Mantra- A mantra is a positive and empowering type of meditation. It was originally used in Buddhism and Hinduism, where a word or sound is repeated to aid concentration in meditation. You can’t fail doing a Mantra so it can only be a positive experience. Some examples would be telling yourself “I believe in myself,” “I can do it,” “I am strong.” If you continuously repeat these phrases to yourself, there will be a point where you actually start to believe them even if you weren't a believer at first.
Make a Bucket List- You can create a list, big or small, of things you want to accomplish throughout your life. It doesn't need to have a deadline. You may want to go on a trip or try a cooking class. Creating the list is just a reminder that there are things in life you are working towards.
Start your new year at a time that best suits you- Having the start date of January 1st causes unnecessary stress and procrastination. Amy Morin, psychotherapist, writes in Psychology Today, “when people launch their resolution on January 1st, they are making a change based on a calendar date when they think they are prepared to change their lives. This is the real reason most resolutions fail.” Making goals any other time of the year, or even today, takes the stress off of having a date where you feel obligated to change your life completely. It means you can take your time to accomplish these goals without feeling like a failure if you give up a month after new years.
These alternatives can really help improve your mental health and your wellness this 2022 and beyond. You don’t need to make drastic changes based on negative emotions. Instead try focusing on doing what you love and improving yourself in healthy ways. For resources and other information about mental health and wellness visit, The Hub website.