Every New Year we talk about resolutions that we want to create on January 1st. It can be empowering to use the start of the year as an opportunity to create change, however, resolutions can quickly become overwhelming and feel unattainable. Maybe we set unrealistic expectations... Or perhaps we have an "all-or-nothing" mentality combined with a lack of flexibility..." All of these things can lead to feelings of guilt, shame or disappointment if we "fall through" on our resolutions. 

This year, rather than making resolutions that will help us "start the year off strong," we are opting for a practical approach to setting resolutions, and creating small achievable goals that foster true personal growth.


Here are 4 tips to help you move Beyond New Years Resolutions this year...


1. Create Realistic and Attainable Goals:

Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable steps that you are likely to achieve. This approach fosters a sense of accomplishment immediately. For example, one of the biggest goals for many people is embracing a vigorous workout schedule or going to the gym multiple times a week. For most people with regular full-time work or student schedules or child-care responsibilities, this is simply not practical. Situations arise on a near weekly basis that make meeting this goal difficult. An alternative approach would be to set a goal of 2 workouts per week at the gym or at home, which is more realistic. There are also other ways to incorporate exercise into your week and lifestyle that do not require the extra time of going to the gym, such as taking your dog for a long walk or walking or cycling for errands. These small goals you are much more likely to meet and result in the instant gratification of feelings of accomplishment, benefiting your mental health as much as your physical health.



2. Reframe Your Resolutions as Intentions, Embracing Progress and Not Perfection:

Shifting your focus from rigid resolutions to gentle intentions can lighten the pressure you feel from setting a big resolution. Intentions are flexible, allowing room for growth and adaptation as you navigate the unpredictable journey of your everyday life. Understand that personal growth is a continuous process; celebrate small victories and progress rather than fixating on perfection. For example, let’s say you set a goal of eliminating sugar from your diet but then you have a big event to attend, such as a work dinner or family celebration. Denying yourself the enjoyment of certain foods or dessert at events like this can be un-fun and make you feel rotten. So, why not set the intention of reducing sugar in your diet rather than eliminating it outright. This allows you to enjoy life events and embrace the progress you make daily outside of this. 



3. Build a Support System:

It goes without saying that having company along your journey can definitely make the experience more pleasant. Not only can resolution buddies relate to what you are going through, having a support system can help hold you accountable making you more likely to keep your goals. For example, revisiting our workout resolution idea from above, finding a friend to go with you to the gym, joining a recreational athletic club with others, or participating in a YouTube channel’s workouts can give you support and help you stay accountable to yourself and others, making you feel good about yourself and more likely to be successful. 



4. Practice Self-Compassion if Your Resolutions Don’t Go as Planned:

It is simply a fact that not all our resolutions happen as we want them to or when we want them to. Instead of beating yourself up, recognize that life is hard. Stuff happens. There is a lot of pressure that we face everyday, whether personally or professionally (in addition to local, national world events that can also be distressing). Be kind and gentle to yourself. Practice self care when you can and reduce exposure to unpleasant distractions when possible - spend more time with friends and loved ones, pet furry friends, seek out sunlight, go for a special afternoon tea or coffee. Taking advantage of these small life pleasures can help make you feel better. Understand that setbacks are a natural part of any journey. Rather than viewing yourself as a failure, applaud the accomplishments you did make and consider a re-set or reframing of your goals. And start again.


As we begin January 2024, let's release the pressure of resolutions and embrace a more compassionate and achievable approach to personal growth. Remember, it's not about reaching a destination but about the journey of becoming a better version of your already amazing self —one step at a time. Happy New Year, 2024! 🥂🎆

January 08, 2024 — Jessica Trauner

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