How you going so far? Feeling like it's about time to think about new year resolutions again? Some people do at this time of year, but many don't give a damn about it. For some, it's a time to party the last bits of the year away. While we're not about the trends, there are benefits to taking the time out to think through things and re-evaluate the here and now. Taking the time to reflect on your life and what it means can be a meaningful [duh] and fruitful way to take stock of where you are at the moment - it's not just for individuals who are troubled or suffering a mid-life crisis!
If you're kind of stressed out and thinking that it's another year wasted and passed, hold on a sec. Yearly transition and life phases can be a stressful thing. So let's take Day 7 by the horns and here's 5 tips for managing those unforgiving new year resolutions!
Day 7: Managing our new year resolution expectations!
(1) Set realistic expectations
We tend to get into things and have high hopes and expectations. This tends to drive us into high gear quickly and we often lose track of what its purpose was for in the first place. To avoid disillusionment and quitting early, do yourself a favour and set realistic, and achievable expectations. If you have a broader expectation/goal, perhaps break them down into smaller ones. Get them down pat, and you can feel motivated about the small goals, thus building up for the eventual biggie by mid-year or year end.
(2) Be proactive
Instead of waiting for things and opportunities to just fall into your lap (most things don't), why not take the initiative to be proactive about what you set your sights on. Aim high! An aunt used to tell me to aim high, so should you not achieve something at a desired level, you'd have at least gotten somewhere there! Being proactive can be invigorating and may actually assist you with something we call "behavioural activation", which can psychologically spur you on to the next step to achieving your goals. It helps massively with motivation too. It's about the marathon, not the sprint.
(3) Keep things in perspective
Give yourself a break, and try to look at things and your life in perspective. Balance it out with the realities of life and what's most appropriate at the time. You'll need to forego the goals temporarily to fulfil something else important and meaningful at times. Say a new kiddo, or losing a cherished loved one. It's not all lost. You can always come back to it, and remind yourself you haven't taken a step back, and life just can happen. These aren't excuses, they are gentle reminders that you have a life!
(4) Remember what's important
Consider why you're trying to meet your goals in the first place, and who are the important people in your life you're trying to meet those expectations for in the first place. If these are misplaced/displaced, do have a think, grab a wine, a tea, a coffee, and take a time out. Do a status check or system check. Perhaps rethink if you've been trying to seek someone's approval or make others happy, instead of trying to fulfil your own needs and dreams. Remember, you first, then comes others...which brings us to the last and final tip, YOU!
(5) Take time for yourself
You need to be self centred! Nope, not in a negative way, but if you can keep yourself centred on yourself, you actually can be selfless in the process. It's not about going the extremes but it can always sound like you're being selfish when you take time out for yourself. Hold on a sec, be kind to yourself, you need quality you/me time to refocus, recenter, and reflect. You can only do so by separating yourself a little from what makes your windscreen fuzzy.
You may feel pressured to be everything to everyone. Remember that you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do — others will benefit when you’re feeling less stressed. Reflect on aspects of your life that give you joy; go for a long walk; get a massage; or listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries. Be mindful and focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Besides, if you tend to offer advice to others saying they need to care for themselves, ... why maintain the double standard by negating that same advice toward yourself? Right. Go forth and beat those bloody new year resolutions with confidence!
Happy new year - from all @thepsychpractice.