Did you know that around 64% of us will abandon our New Year’s resolutions within a month? In fact, the second Friday of January each year is widely known as Quitter’s Day, where people often find themselves giving up on their ambitious goals for the year! If this sounds like you, and if you’ve been struggling with setbacks so far in 2022, this blog is here to help.
Sometimes, obstacles will get in the way of sticking to a resolution, and no matter whether these obstacles are mental or physical, self-inflicted or completely out of our control, eventually they can all have an impact on our mental health and approaches to goal setting. Read on to discover more about the dangers of setting overly-ambitious goals, and to learn some tips on how you can overcome obstacles in your life going forward.
Why do we set New Year’s resolutions, and how can they be damaging?
Generally, resolutions can be a positive way of encouraging ourselves to take steps towards becoming ‘better’ people. We tend to set resolutions for the beginning of the year as it feels like a new start and a good opportunity to initiate making changes, whether it involves our daily habits, eating patterns or simply our approach to life.
When New Year’s resolutions start to be damaging is when they become overly ambitious. While it can be encouraging to initially set goals in this way, unfortunately, setbacks will be far more likely, and you may find yourself feeling let down and disheartened if you fail to achieve what you first set out to. There is also the risk that your resolutions will begin to feel overwhelming rather than exciting, which again, will likely result in setbacks that bring your mood down.
Obstacles and setbacks are common in all aspects of our lives, and when it comes to setting new goals and challenges for the New Year, there are plenty of things that can potentially get in the way of everything we want to achieve in 2022. The key thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving up (or already have given up) on your resolutions, is that they are just that – resolutions. Bending or breaking your own internalised rules is nothing to be ashamed of, and no law states that we have to make resolutions in the first place.
How to overcome New Year’s resolution setbacks
If you’re feeling particularly downtrodden by having given up on your resolutions this year, fear not, because our experts at The Awareness Centre have 4 tips to overcome these New Year’s setbacks.
1. Be realistic and honest with yourself
None of us can really expect to go through life without any setbacks – they are part of what it means to live. Challenges are natural, as is procrastination and failure. Understanding this and being realistic with yourself is part of what will help you overcome these dark feelings that tend to come alongside obstacles in our lives.
As stated above, being realistic is also about setting achievable goals. Try structuring what you want to achieve into easily-digestible sections with subtasks, rather than visualising the entire end goal. For example, if you want to exercise every day during the week, start by incorporating it slowly into your routine (for example, 1 or 2 days a week) rather than trying to achieve too much too soon.
2. Avoid shying away from problems
As previously mentioned, there’s no shame in giving up on your resolutions. Instead of shying away and hiding the way you feel, try speaking to someone about your goals and what caused you to give up. They might be able to help you come up with better goal setting solutions, or at least help to remind you that you’re not alone.
If you can identify what is causing your setbacks, it can also be helpful to face these problems head on rather than leaving them to take over other aspects of your life. This way, you may be able to avoid or reduce the impact of future setbacks, too.
3. Seek support to manage your goals
Just because it’s no longer the New Year, it doesn’t mean you can’t look at setting some new goals. Seek support from friends, family, or even a mental health specialist to set yourself new and achievable challenges that will help you to feel more productive and really see the progress you are making.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others
One of the most damaging things we can do when trying to overcome our own obstacles is to compare ourselves to others. Social media in particular can be a difficult place to be if you’re feeling disheartened about your own goals, as it will appear that everyone else online is working harder, seeing progress quicker and setting even more ambitious goals than you.
Try to stay away from the competitive nature of the online community and focus on yourself rather than others. Nobody is experiencing exactly the same obstacles and setbacks, and nobody has the same exact hopes and dreams for where they want their life to go. Keep your thoughts on your own vision and you will be sure to have a far more dedicated approach to overcoming your setbacks.
Not achieving your New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to set you back for the rest of the year, or your life. If you’re struggling with feelings of overwhelm when it comes to overcoming the obstacles in your life, you can always book an appointment at The Awareness Centre and talk through it with our specialist therapists.
Remember, there will be plenty of opportunities to achieve goals throughout your life, and they don’t have to be restricted to a pressure-filled year of consistent change. All you need to do is be open to these opportunities and keep challenges realistic.