New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition. Every year, millions of people across the globe make resolutions with the hope of bettering themselves in some way. However, research shows that most people give up on their resolutions after just a few weeks.
"Take the body and the mind will follow." This is something I was told in early recovery that I have followed ever since. Many times the mind will create an array of roadblocks, from low motivation to pure anxiety. It can feel impossible to push through, but if you begin with small steps, you will be amazed how far you can go.
With my anxiety disorder, I was left alone in my bedroom for the better part of two years. I started making small steps, tiny victories. First just walking down stairs and sitting, then going outside and standing on the front porch, then walking to the end of the driveway. These things may seem trivial, but to someone who is suffering from intense fear and panic, they were huge victories.
It's called exposure therapy, and the idea is that you want to start exposing yourself to the things that scare you, confronting what holds you back, and slowly pushing through. If it feels too much, try sitting with it for just one more minute, and then gradually build the duration, treating it like an experiment to see how long you can tolerate the discomfort. Can I push through for just one more minute? I did it! Maybe one more minute?
This is a great tool for anxiety and addiction recovery, but it is also a key in any new beginning.
Here are some steps you can take to creating a New YOU resolution, to achieving your goals and becoming your best self.
1-Set-Goals You’re Passionate About:
When choosing your New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to select goals that you truly care about. If you’re not truly motivated to achieve a goal, it will be much more difficult to stay motivated in the long run. Before you set a resolution, spend some time reflecting on what is truly important to you and your life. If you’re passionate about a goal and can easily envision what achieving it would feel like, then you’re much more likely to stay motivated and never give up on it. You can also strengthen your motivation by visualizing the progress you’ll make towards the goal and how much it will mean to you when you reach it.
2- Set Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations can be a real hindrance to your New Year’s resolutions. If you take on too much too soon, you may feel overwhelmed and become discouraged. Rather than setting unrealistic goals, set realistic expectations that are tailored to your lifestyle and abilities. Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable goals and create steps to achieve them. You’ll be more likely to stick to your resolutions when you set goals that you can actually accomplish. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small, and you’ll have an easier time continuing your progress.
3- Hold Yourself Accountable
It can be easy to make excuses for why you can’t stay on track with your resolutions. To prevent yourself from slipping, hold yourself accountable for your successes and failures. Don’t be afraid to be honest and self-critical. Examine your progress, identify what is and isn’t working, and find solutions to rectify any issues. In addition to holding yourself accountable, you may also want to find an accountability partner. An accountability partner can help keep you on track and offer encouragement and support when motivation is lacking.
4- Celebrate Small Victories
Many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions too soon because they judge their success on the big picture instead of each of the small steps taken along the way. When accomplishing small tasks, take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come. If a goal seems too daunting, take a moment to celebrate each of the smaller accomplishments you’ve achieved. In addition to boosting your motivation, celebrating small breakthroughs may also help to keep you motivated for the long run.
5- Get a Resolution Partner
Working towards a resolution with a friend or loved one can help keep you both motivated and on track. By having someone to work with, you’ll feel inspired to continue even during difficult times. You and your partner can encourage, motivate, and inspire each other to keep pushing forward. If you don’t have someone to work with, consider joining a community or online group on social media. There are hundreds of groups dedicated to helping people stick to their New Year’s resolutions.
Resolutions can take time to reach, so don’t get discouraged if you hit a few bumps in the road. Remind yourself of why you started and take the time to celebrate each little accomplishment, no matter how small. Remember that the most important thing is that you stay consistent and don’t give up. It can be easy to forget why you set your goals in the first place, so be sure to take a few minutes each day to connect to your resolutions.
Growth takes time. Whenever you make a decision, ask yourself, does this decision support the life I am trying to create?
When you're really struggling with pushing through the discomfort of growth, reach out to someone who you know will inspire, support and remind you why you made this resolution. I found AA and any addiction recovery groups to be very helpful, and their wisdom can be applied to any bad habit.
Much love to you all, and may you have the willingness to create the life you want to live.