December is almost at its end, preparing to gather all the bittersweet memories, the sad moments, the happy moments, the confusing moments, the moments that don’t make sense, and the instances of total chaos in its arms and hurry away, never to be seen again. Many of us have cried this year, many have laughed like never before, some of us have grown, and some have made promises to themselves and others.
With 2022 coming to an end, many of us must have decided on our New Year’s Resolutions as well, knowing very well they most likely will not be achieved. In fact, according to a survey, about 80% of people in the United States abandon their New Year’s Resolutions by the second month of the new year. Another survey reveals that 23% of people give up on their resolutions in the first week and only 9% of the people successfully achieve their goals!
Yikes! Those statistics are not looking good at all. The primary reason behind the failure of new year’s resolutions is that most people do not know how to set goals and work towards achieving them. Yes, goal setting is not as easy as it sounds. It requires effort and a smart strategy.
The SMART technique is a brilliant way of ensuring that the goals you set are successfully achieved. It is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Read more about the SMART technique and goal setting here.
That being said since New Year’s Resolutions are mostly always abandoned, isn’t it much better to invest your time and energy in bringing meaningful changes into your life through simple lifestyle and mindset changes for a better quality of life? Read on to find out why we think you should ditch New Year’s Resolutions and make simple changes in your life instead!
Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?
As suggested by multiple surveys, New Year’s Resolutions are almost always unsuccessful. It’s easy to blame it on a lack of time or motivation but there must be a reason behind this lack of time and motivation as well, no? So, why exactly do these fail?
Among the most prominent reasons behind failing to accomplish your new year’s goals are unrealistic expectations from yourself. Often, when you ask people about their new year’s aims, you will notice they have set goals that they believe they should accomplish, not what they need to achieve. The goals are either so unbelievably tough or extremely easy to the point they lose their charm and become boring.
Another reason New Year’s Resolutions fail is due to a lack of planning. A goal, no matter how big or small requires a plan that will aid in the completion of that goal. On top of that is the fact that while making New Year’s Resolutions, people get carried away and make resolutions that are bigger and cannot be reached without first taking the smaller steps. It is like wanting to reach the top floor of a building without actually taking the stairs. It is absurd and, frankly speaking, impossible. It’s important, thus, to take the smaller steps before the big leap because without that, you’re bound to fail.
Now, hear us out. How about, instead of New Year’s Resolutions this year, we switch to making simple lifestyle changes? We know it is not as exciting or momentous as a new year’s resolution but what even is the point of a resolution that is never accomplished? Isn’t it better to take smaller steps towards smaller goals that will help you in the long run, both mentally and physically?
Ditch New Year’s Resolutions for These 6 Simple Changes
Sure, making resolutions for the next year seems like a lot of fun and an excellent way to accomplish your goals but there’s a flaw we’ve managed to find in this approach. The whole idea of making new year’s resolutions encourages you to begin your year with a negative attitude toward yourself. After all, isn’t the whole point of these resolutions to make significant changes in yourself because you’re not happy with them? This way, you’re going to begin your year feeling dissatisfied with your current self, the feeling only worsening when two months in, you realize the resolutions you made in the spur of the moment were reckless and unrealistic.
So, what should be done to combat this situation? We have made a list of 6 alternatives to new year’s resolutions that will have a greater, more positive impact on your mental well-being!
1. Count Your Accomplishments Instead of Flaws
Since new year’s resolutions hold a negative connotation, forcing you to look at your flaws and insecurities, count them down and make a list in an attempt to ‘change’ them, what it creates is an atmosphere of negativity. And, beginning your year with a negative opinion of yourself is neither healthy nor helpful.
Instead of counting and making a list of your flaws on new year’s eve and the days preceding it, let’s reverse the exercise and make a list of your accomplishments instead. Surely you must be proud of at least a few things you have managed to accomplish this year. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big achievement or a teeny tiny victory, a triumph is a triumph and deserves a place on your list of accomplishments. Making a list of all the things you’ve managed to achieve this year will help you be grateful and allow you to begin the new year on a positive note with all the good things in your mind, feeling satisfied with your current self instead of berating yourself for not being good enough.
2. Make Habits, Not Goals
Now we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with aspiring to achieve bigger things or anything. In fact, we advocate for goal planning and aiming for big things. But, there’s a way to go about it just like with everything else. Goals are the end product while habits are the things you do every single day without really thinking about it. They are second nature to you.
The reason we believe it’s better to focus on making habits is that they’re easier to form and allow for consistency, balancing the chaos of life with their certainty. In a way, small, healthy habits can be a means for you to reach your goal in the long run. Since goals are the end results we wish to achieve, it’s easy to get carried away and indulge in reckless behavior in order to achieve them. On top of that is the fact that goals are the end. Once achieved, it’s easy to fall back into your previous ways so no positive change really occurs. This is why we believe it is better to ditch goals and aspirations and resolutions for habits that can bring about meaningful changes in your life.
3. Make A Promise to Prioritize Yourself
Goals, aspirations, aims, dreams, objectives, new year’s resolutions; whatever you want to call it, are a problem because once you have an end result you wish to accomplish, your energy, your efforts, and all your time are invested into reaching that particular stage. But there’s nothing wrong with that, right? Wrong.
When you’re invested in reaching a goal, you often end up neglecting smaller achievements, missing out on better opportunities, and above all, disregarding your physical and mental health. Your goals take a sole position as the main priority and nothing else matters in front of them. This can be extremely detrimental to your relationships as well.
We believe it is important, thus to learn to prioritize yourself — your emotions, your health, your relationships, your work, and your friends — instead of prioritizing your goals. Make positive changes in your attitude, your outlook, perspective, your beliefs before you begin taking bigger steps toward your aspirations.
4. Think of Smaller Steps to Reach Bigger Goals
Smaller habits, bigger change. Surely, slow and steady wins the race so to achieve bigger goals you must first accomplish the smaller, much easier targets first. Small, often overlooked changes and wins achieved daily are of great value for the completion of long-term goals. Think of it as climbing a set of stairs. Not a single step you climb is in vain. Each step contributes to the achievement of the larger goals.
Goals cannot be accomplished right away, with little or no effort. Make a step-by-step plan of how you should reach the end goal. Each step should be created with the ultimate objective in mind. These smaller steps will work as a constant source of motivation, helping you track progress and minimizing the daunting effect of the ultimate goal.
Since new year’s resolutions are similar to goals, our advice would be to keep on making small changes throughout the year, slowly working towards the main objective, instead of making a resolution at the end of the year and losing motivation to achieve it one month into 2023.
5. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes
Let’s establish one thing here. Making mistakes is part of the human experience. It’s normal. In fact, it’d worry us more if you told us you never make mistakes. We have already talked about how goals and aspirations have a reputation for taking up center stage. It’s easy to lose yourself in your desires, ignore reality and do some reckless things. We’ve all read Macbeth, right?
When you’re so focused on achieving a goal, failure to attain it can often breed ill feelings about yourself. You may feel guilty, ashamed, and angry. Those feelings are also normal but they can be detrimental to your mental well-being. In order to minimize such feelings, it is better to forgive yourself than to let the anger fester.
Instead of a new year’s resolution this year, how about you list down your mistakes and instead of feeling angry, you embrace them, learn from them, and forgive yourself for making them?
6. Cut off Negativity
Negativity is a monster. It takes and takes and takes from you without giving anything in return. It takes away your mental peace, your self-esteem, self-confidence, happiness, and all the joy, replacing it with guilt, shame, remorse, self-doubt, and similar feelings. Negativity is the enemy of your mental well-being.
Ironically, negativity seems to come to us naturally while positivity usually needs to be forced. It is because it’s easier to remain angry than to make peace and acknowledge the root cause of this pessimism. This year, however, we encourage you to change your mindset before entering 2023 and cut off all negativity that has been weighing you down the whole year.
Think of it as lying down on the bed after a long day at work and how all the tension and stress of the day starts to leave your body, allowing you to feel fresh and energetic in the morning. Similarly, letting go of negativity right before you enter the new year will allow you to look at everything in a positive light with newfound energy, hope, and vigor.
So, what would you choose? A new year’s resolution or small, simple changes for better and bigger outcomes in the long run?