Status Check on Your New Year’s Resolutions – Progress, Not Perfection

Every new year is an opportunity for us to decide to make big changes for our own self-improvement and well-being. And many of us feel particularly motivated after a few glasses of champagne, tipsy, and overly zealous to commit to sweeping changes that will require a lot of willpower, but you’re ready! Right? Unfortunately, that kind of willpower is hard to sustain over time, so you end up right where you started, still knowing it’s something you have to tackle and put into action, but that it’s hard and well, life happens.  An unfulfilled resolution can lead to anxiety, self-doubt, and guilt, especially in people who already struggle with mental health or self-image problems. 

Fun fact: 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail

So, you’re not alone and this doesn’t say anything about you. It’s incredibly difficult to permanently make changes to your life, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make any improvements at all. To help you hit the reset button on your New Year’s resolutions, your mental health, and your overall well-being, focus on the progress – the positive changes you have made so far in 2017 – and not perfection. And there are still a few months left to help achieve even more progress.

Find a Balance

All of us make New Year’s resolutions because we want to be the best version of ourselves. What that means to many people is typically physical – and it’s typically negative. When you’re approaching goal setting, think the of your whole being. What else plays into your overall happiness outside of your physique? Having time to read a book? Spending less time staring at a screen? Going to church with family? Finding a balance between mind, body, and spirit will enable you to make progress even on days when you’re feeling too anxious or depressed to work out.

Set Realistic Goals

The problem with setting New Year’s resolution isn’t the act of setting goals; it is making them too extreme and unwavering. So, rather than eliminating or embracing something entirely, break the task down into small steps. If you want to quit smoking, cut down gradually by smoking one less cigarette every few days. Sign up for a fitness class that meets once or twice a week, until you feel comfortable to add more days. Stock up on a few healthy snacks to curb the cupcake craving, and only make cupcakes once or twice a month. Make small changes that help you make progress toward your goal – in fact, make progress the new goal. Soon, those baby steps add up to larger lifestyle shift that are more sustainable and integrated into your day-to-day. Plus, you won’t have added anxiety or depression with your New Year’s resolution.

Be Kind to Yourself

Many resolutions begin with a deep-seated unhappiness we have with ourselves. Whether it’s losing weight, quitting smoking, or some other lifestyle change, we have a tendency to be pretty hard on ourselves, particularly women. 

Remind yourself that each day is a day to reset and try again. This isn’t a one-and-done scenario, but rather a lifelong effort to stay healthy and whole. Work on changing that inner voice just as you work on the exterior goals of your resolution. Rather than thinking, “Oh, I’m just so fat,” consider the fact that you are making positive changes. Think of the way you would talk to a friend with the same struggles – talk to yourself the same way. 

Need help with your goals? Want to hit your mental reset button? Book an appointment for a free 30-minute consultation with Austin Bridges Therapy today, and let us help you make the most of your New Year’s resolution and overall self.