After even more uncertainty than usual about what we can control in our lives after 2 years of events, general life plans, and life as we usually expect it being cancelled, is there any point at all in trying to set new year’s resolutions? Yes, there is. Set goals over resolutions that focus on the impact of your actions over your identity as ‘that girl’ for 2022 by unlearning these common misconceptions!
Here are 5 lies to unlearn about new year’s resolutions in order to achieve your goals and be the version of yourself you always wanted to be.
1. New Year’s Resolutions have to improve you in some way (‘new year, new me’)
Instead of starting the year scolding yourself for not being enough, set resolutions that serve you this year. New year’s resolutions can be driven by a celebration of you over being guilt-driven. Maybe you’re in the middle of a life cycle goal, at a slower period of your life. You don’t have to be in a constant upswing to be successful at being a human. Let your resolutions serve you this year by setting yourself a fun, silly challenge that brings you joy. You might want to read every book by your favourite author, learn a fun dance, or watch every movie or series in the marvel universe.
2. They have to be binaries (giving up smoking, drinking, eating meat, losing weight etc)
Perfection over progress thinking that uses a binary to measure success means that the moment you light up a stress cig, you’ve failed at your resolution. If you feel guilty about a certain behaviour, and then overcorrect by expecting perfection, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Not all your resolutions need to be outcome-based with strict parameters. Maybe aim for an hour of exercise and moving your body a week over setting a specific goal weight. No matter what life throws at you, you can still have a pj dance party and meet that goal.
3. Have to be a verb
Rather than adding something else to your to-do list, what about removing something from your life that steals your peace? Set a new year’s resolution that frees up energy and brain space by setting a personal policy over another to-do. For instance, if you find some holiday activity tedious, set a policy not to do it. This makes it easier to explain it to others too without making it personal: ‘oh, I’ve got a new personal policy not to give wrap gifts in store-bought paper this year’.
4. Set in stone: something that instantly stops
Your new year’s resolutions don’t need to be set in stone like the 10 commandments of thou shalt nots. With the amount of uncertainty around what we can do, give yourself some play about what the success of a resolution would be, and replace habits you want to remove with positive ones. For instance, if you want to be on your phone in the mornings less, what will you do instead? Pick up a book? Meditate? Make it easy by focusing on the goal rather than the thing you want to deprive yourself of.
5. Know what they all are right now
The idea that you need to have all your resolutions, goals, and plans for 2022 figured out by the 1st of Jan seems a little overwhelming. Make it a new year’s resolution to sit down once a week and think about goals and how to implement them to replace the same arbitrary list of guilt-driven to dos you set up last year. This way you can adjust (up or down) your parameters as you progress through the year and realise what you want to focus on.
We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what we can do in 10. Align this year’s new year’s resolutions with your overarching goals for the next 10 years, or even 5 if that seems ambitious, and give yourself room to move up (and sometimes down) at a gradual pace, rather than expecting to see linear improvement every year.
Written by Kendall Behr