Managing our day-to-day lives with various stressors ranging from finances, school, work, family, and inter and intrapersonal issues can be daunting and overwhelming. Especially when coping with life on its terms rather than ours. Adding to the ‘stress-mix’, our mental health has notably been held hostage by the impacts of COVID-19 and its derivative strains these past few years. So then, why add to our stress by setting New Year’s resolutions?
Resolutions can serve a purpose in self-improvement. Consider whether the attainment and maintenance of the resolution will add to daily stressors, and if so, do your best to take a more gentle approach.
If the past nearly two years has taught me anything, it is to engage in greater self-compassion and radical acceptance of ‘what is’ rather than beat myself up for my failures to attain specific goals. This does not mean to say that setting New Year’s resolutions is a ‘bad thing’. It can be a motivator and self-esteem builder as much as it can be another reason for self-flagellation, because we did not stay on the intended course. Changing behaviors is challenging. It takes patience, focus, and energy. Change is hard when we have other vulnerabilities happening too. This said, I am sending my New Year Resolutions out into the Universe for Peace, Rest, and Intentionality. I am determined to not attach myself to them in a way that brings more anxiety and unhappiness – but as a guidepost to what is important to me while being gentle with myself along the way.
There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.” – Buddha.
Written by, Dr. Michele Lob PsyD, CEDS