A New Year and with it, a New Me.
For many of us, getting ready to ring in the new year can bring about a renewed sense of hope, cheer, and positivity. We might choose to celebrate the start of another year with friends or family, pop open a bottle of bubbly or shout out a version of Auld Lang Sine whilst fireworks sparkle outside.
Granted, this way of acknowledging the start of something new is not for everyone, some people prefer not to loudly celebrate the turning of the clock into the next year, for some it might be a challenging time, especially with the pandemic still heavily featuring in our lives or the passing of a loved one.
Some people might choose a good book, a quiet night in, a glass of a favourite drink, or a chat on the phone to a friend instead. And for some, it may be a regular day of the week – going to work, writing an essay, doing chores at home. The nice part is there is no wrong way to head into 2022.
There is, however, a tradition that for many of us, can be a difficult way to start the new year, the pressure of the new year’s resolution. The difficult part of making resolutions is that they are often linked to something we feel we are missing, or that we need to feel complete or happy. For some, the new year’s resolution will be the reason they will conquer the new year and consider it a success or fail and be disappointed and berate themselves.
So, what happens if the goal you set yourself is unattainable, unrealistic or you are not ready to commit to the change you are asking yourself to make?
The problem with unrealistic goal setting is that it is a little like starting a new, exciting book, and skipping straight to the last chapter in hopes of the elusive happy ending.
What about all the chapters in between? What does a happily-ever-after even look like?
You have no idea how the characters in the book got to their ending, or what challenges, highs and lows, or life events shaped their story in between. It might be unrealistic to expect this happily-ever-after story to have happened with no hard work or effort, and what if the ending did not look the way you thought it would when you first started the journey of reading the book?
Skipping to the end also takes away any acknowledgement of what it took to achieve these goals.
For numerous reasons, resolution setting can often set us up to fail, which could then have the knock-on effects of decreasing our motivation, being overly self-critical and using our failures as a stick with which to punish ourselves.
Instead, I promote the kinder option, the practice of acknowledging the ending of one phase and the start of something new. Instead of a resolution, I suggest a review.
Look at 2021 with fresh eyes and some kind questions.
What did you achieve? What fun did you have? What would you like a little more of? What would you like a little less of? What do you need more of?
When you know the answers to these questions, you can then begin to build a stepping-stone pathway and plan for the new year, being mindful to include more of the things you need and enjoy into the coming year. This promotes self-care, realistic goals, and a better starting point to explore the coming chapters of the book of 2022.