“Another Year to Get Them Right”
New Year’s resolutions can be detrimental to mental health because the pressure of unmet goals can give individuals an overwhelming sense of anxiety, self-doubt, and feelings of failure. New Year’s resolutions are great in theory and healthy when realistic, however we tend to overexert ourselves to reach ambitious New Year’s resolutions and feel as though we have failed, if we do not reach the goals by the end of the year. It is like chasing perfectionism.
What are some of the issues with making New Year’s Resolutions?
- Research indicates that only 8% of individuals achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Individuals start off strong but will abandon their resolutions within a week.
- It is unrealistic to think you can change a bad habit when it took a lifetime to acquire that habit. Unrealistic resolutions trigger a sense of failure, self-doubt, and low self-esteem, when individuals fall short of changing the habit, like quitting smoking or losing weight.
- Most resolutions are targeted at something we do not like about ourselves, (creating a routine, eating healthy, decluttering their lives, etc.). Targeting resolutions around negative thoughts are destructive and demotivating.
- Resolutions are based on the results and not the journey. There is little thought given to what it takes to achieve that resolution. When the individual feels like the resolution is not achieved, it brings feelings of failure.
- New Years Resolutions are based around One-Shot or Else. Individuals feel they have one chance to achieve their goals, or they will have to wait another year to achieve them, feeling a sense of defeat.
Let this be a different year for you to meet those New Year’s resolutions and to realistically achieve your physical and wellness goals. In order to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, here are some suggestions to help you be successful:
- Give each goal some thought and determine whether they are achievable, consider past attempts and success rates of New Year’s Resolutions of previous years.
- Break down goals into manageable pieces, allowing for failure and starting over when ready, (whether it is a week or month) this is far healthier than focusing on New Year’s resolutions that will never be achieved.
- Enhance your mental health by working on your sleep routine, learn relaxation techniques and meditation for energy, vitality and balance.
- Find ways to stay on track with resolutions using a planner to help you and checking off daily fitness goals which can make you feel that your resolutions are much more achievable.
- Seek professional help, if you are struggling to overcome a habit or struggling negative thoughts that hinder your ability to achieve your goals. Therapy can provide guidance to develop strategies on overcoming behaviors that have caused to you to fail in the past.
You can do it! Remember a quote by Albert Einstein, “You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying,”
Need Help Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions? The African American Health Program can assist you in meeting your wellness goals. The African American Health Program offers weight management programs, weekly exercise classes, cooking classes and seminars on healthy living. A Health Coach will provide guidance and tools, free of charge to help you be successful for 2022. For more information about AAHP programs call (240) 777-1833.
by Wanda J. Smith, Social Worker (AAHP)