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  • Writer's picturekearneybronwen

'New Year, New Me' in 2023?

Now that we're a week into 2023, I wanted to touch on 'New Year, New Me' and New Year Resolution setting. I've never been one to set New Year resolutions. Mostly because I'm stubborn and don't want to do what everyone else does. I know New Year's Resolutions are made with good intentions, but they're rarely followed through for the year.

They often focus on things we're insecure about, or things we aren't good at, such as eating healthily or going to the gym, and focusing on our 'flaws' can be hard on our mental health. They also often include ways to become what society deems 'better' at the time, and the most popular internet fad, and mostly because we feel we should set some sort of New Year Goals, rather than because we actually want to change.

Resolutions are focused on being something else, rather than embracing yourself, or thinking about what you'd like to achieve, what memories you could make, or what countries you'd like to visit.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to make changes, but putting all of your positive expectations into another year can backfire. Here's some dos and don'ts for 2023, to help you make realistic goals without treating yourself negatively:

  • DO: Be kind to yourself. Being kind to ourselves and avoiding negative talk is definitely a good way to start the year. Focus on your wellbeing and spend more time on things that contribute to it. See if you can do one thing a day for yourself, or set a goal to do something for yourself at least three times a week, leaving some room for those times when you're unable to achieve this without feeling as though you've 'failed'.

  • DO: Be realistic if you want to set New Year's goals. Most goals fail when they aren't realistic. As much as we want to change overnight, we can't, and when we don't reach our goals, we feel negatively about ourselves, and feel guilty. Choose one or two habits you want to focus on and try and stick to them. Perhaps you want to set one or two goals for the first six months, and then decide where you want to go next.

  • DO: Focus on your mindset. Our beliefs and expectations about ourselves can influence our abilities and shape our experiences. Studies show that people who are told they have a gene that makes them bad at exercise found workouts more uncomfortable than those who were told they have the 'good' gene, demonstrating how our beliefs can impact our abilities. You have as much willpower as you think you do.

  • DO: Practice gratitude. People who feel that their lives have more 'meaning' to them are better off. Focus on the things that went right, rather than when things have gone wrong. Make a list of things you're grateful for, things you've achieved, and see how positive you feel!

  • DO: Start when you're ready. People tend to go to the opposite extreme throughout December because their goals start in January. This can make the jump to 'New Year, New Me' even harder as you've not prepared. If you've decided you need to change in January, why not make changes now?

  • DO: Change the narrative. Reframe negative thoughts and question your assumptions. Try to spot when you have negative thoughts and re-frame and test them to prove your negative thoughts are wrong. Take yourself out of your comfort zone a little at a time. When things you right, you'll realise your negative thoughts are just thoughts.

  • DO: Try to cope with 'failure'. You won't stick to your resolutions 100% of the time, but try not to think that once you've gone off track, you've failed altogether. Use these times and reflect on them, and learn from them. You can adapt your goals to suit changes in your lifestyle - this is not failing.

  • DO: Write your goals down. Studies have shown that writing down your goals, and looking at them regularly, increases the chances of sticking with them and achieving them. Use some inspirational quotes, or things that inspire you, and look at them to keep motivated. Make sure these are not quotes or pictures that make you feel negative, such as pictures of 'ideal' bodies that make you compare yourself to others. You might feel like they're inspirational, but chances are they're making you feel more negatively about yourself. Different methods work for different people, but really think about whether your way motivates and inspires you, or induces feelings of punishment and guilt.

  • DON'T: Compare yourself to others. Do what you want, not what you think you should be doing. Don't do things you don't enjoy, just because you think you should! If you're 'missing out' on something you never wanted to do in the first place, are you really missing out? Think of what really brings you joy, and do more of it, regardless of what everyone else is doing.

  • DON'T: Just strive to be happier. Don't set expectations of how much happier you would be if A, B and C happened. If these things don't make you feel happier, you might end up feeling less happy than when you started. And if these things never happen, you might feel like you can't be happy until they do. Try breaking this down into goals that might result in more joy, such as spending more time with loved ones or practicing a hobby.

Finally, DO remember that you don't need to change yourself this year. Happy New Year, make it a good one x

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