As 2021 drew to a close, more than half of us in the UK planned to make at least one New Year’s resolution to kick-start our 2022. But, with previous years’ statistics suggesting fewer than 10% of those resolutions will actually be realised by the end of the year, could there be another, better way to set ourselves up for success?
We’ve all fallen into the same trap at some point, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not – ‘New Year, New Me’, get fitter, carve out dedicated spaces for self-care in our schedule, make more time for friends and family, get a better work-life balance… These goals – or resolutions – are all valid, of course, but they each share the same fatal flaw; they’re too big, too vague, or simply cannot be achieved in the unrealistic timeframe we set ourselves. The sense of failure we feel when we consequently don’t complete these unattainable goals often leaves a dent in our mental well-being instead of boosting it like we planned, which in turn makes us even more determined to set resolutions and not ‘fail’ next year; and so the cycle continues.
So, how can we be kinder to ourselves and turn these ‘losses’ into ‘wins’ in a realistic way?
- Think Small: instead of biting off more than you can chew, try breaking down your overall goal into small, simple chunks that are specific and realistic. ‘Get fitter’ can become ‘I hope to go for a twenty minute walk every day’; ‘a better work-life balance’ can look like ‘I want to log off when my work day is done and put away my laptop’; ‘self-care’ might take the form of ‘I’m going to take regular breaks from my screen to have a drink of water throughout the day’. These little tasks might not seem much, but that’s exactly what makes them crucial to success – the sense of achievement from completing those tasks every day will boost you to continue your streak the next day, and the day after that, and the ones after that, creating a new cycle that will do wonders for your mental well-being and create positive habits instead of traps!
- Be Consistent: once you’ve got your bite-sized tasks in mind, keep them there. For some of us, this might mean setting a reminder on your phone to pop up throughout the day and keep you on track. For others, writing an affirmation on a post-it note and keeping it visually in front of you might spur you on to keep going. Or, maybe simply saying your short list of tasks out loud every morning, afternoon and evening could be enough. The important thing is to pick a method that is easy to repeat and works for you; the more these hopes for the day are at the front of your mind, the more likely you will be to make them reality.
- Focus on the Positive: life is unpredictable and, sometimes, it can get in the way of us achieving our goals despite us having the best of intentions – we’re only human, after all! So, instead of focusing on what you haven’t achieved or things that didn’t go so well, at the end of each day try to think about what you did manage to achieve despite the obstacles in your way. Maybe your twenty minute walk was just a lap round the block, or perhaps you didn’t drink as much water as you intended to; the important thing to remember is that you set out with good intentions and that tomorrow is a new day so you can try again.
For more tips and tricks to help boost your mental well-being and productivity both in the workplace and at home, contact our team using the link below and see how our experts can work with you to make 2022 the best it can be.