In a difficult year, resolutions may be unproductive, but since we’re coming off of not one, but two difficult years, our advice is to not bother with them in 2022.
Many of us are burned out and fatigued after two years of a pandemic with no end in sight. Trying to improve ourselves in the new year can be intimidating, so why not avoid making a resolution altogether?
Better off without it
We could be better off without them, and many psychologists agree with this. According to Dr. Sophie Lazarus, a psychologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, the last thing we need to do after a terrible year is put additional pressure on ourselves, or establish a goal that may not be achievable amid a global epidemic.
Setting a New Year’s resolution isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When you’re doing it out of a sense of obligation or pressure, such as, when you feel obligated to make a New Year’s resolve to join in with everyone else, things can get tricky.
Additionally, I have been thinking about the term “resolution” in itself, and how it implies things being resolved, when in fact, it may be better for us to think of New Year’s aspirations—things we would like to aspire to, while dropping the pressure of a “resolve.”
If you decide that making some type of change is a good idea, then Dr. Lazarus suggests evaluating how big the change is and if that kind of change is actually reasonable and realistic right now.
What you should do if you don’t know what to do
This is the year to take a break if there was ever a year to do so. Start small if you’re anxious to make a change, or adopting a “new start” approach in the New Year, could be the best way to go.
Make a smaller adjustment than you would normally make, such as giving up junk food by 2023. Consider how much junk food you consume on a daily basis, and instead of quitting cold turkey, consider restricting it to once a day or once a week, regardless of how unhealthy it is.
Finally, think about why this minor change will improve your life. Do you realize that making this change could make you feel better or happier every day? Or are you doing it because you feel compelled to?
In addition, rather than focusing on negative habits or repairing what’s wrong in your life, it is recommended to focus on mindfulness and awareness, as well as letting go of some of the self-criticism.
Incorporating a mindfulness routine or ritual into your life is one method to do this. It doesn’t have to be hard or elaborate, but meditation applications can help you get started by providing mindfulness tools, exercises, and guided meditations.
This is all to say that you don’t need to add pressure to yourself by having to make resolutions. After all we’ve seen, unpredictability is the theme, and it’s better to have smaller goals to avoid beating ourselves up when we don’t have to.
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