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Taking a Different Approach to New Year's Resolutions

Make this your best year ever! New year, new you. Brand new you in 2022. There are so many sayings and phrases to try to pump people up for a new year. But here is a message that's long overdue for many people to hear—you don't have to set New Year's resolutions if you don't want to.

There is no rule that just because a new calendar year is arriving that you have to make a bunch of changes in your life.

New year's resolutions are generally full of good intentions, but they can also be overwhelming. Most of us tend to set lofty goals for the new year. There are lots of messages online to help you do proper goal setting and make the best out of this time of year when many people take on new goals for themselves. If this is motivating for you and you love the challenge of setting and working towards new goals with each new calendar year, great! Make the most out of it.

But if you're in a place where the thought of setting resolutions or goals for the new year sounds like just one more thing to add to the stress you're already feeling, then skip it.

You don't have to set goals for the new year

There is something about a new year, new month, and new week that makes it feel like the right time to start something new. Have you ever started a new habit on Monday, failed at it by Thursday, and decided to just wait and start it over again until Monday rolls around again.

The truth is you don't need a "new" period of time to start making changes in your life. You can start to work on making meaningful changes in your life whenever you're ready. That could be January 1st, May 17th, October 31st, or December 20th. The date and time are 100% up to you.

If you're not truly ready to do the work to make the changes in your life, it doesn't matter if it's a new year or not. The same is true if you are ready to start experiencing a change in your life.

You have the power and control over setting resolutions. Don't jump on board with it if you're only doing it because you feel like you should.

If you're not setting resolutions because they matter to you, are authentic to you, and you're motivated to do the work involved with it, then don't put the pressure on yourself to make it happen. Instead, simply start the new year just as you are and know that it's OK.

"Resolutions" for your mental health in 2022

Now, on the other hand, if you're looking for some positive change in your life, but don't have specific goals in mind, here are some suggestions of areas you can focus on for your mental health and wellness:

Learn to accept yourself

Maybe this is the year that you learn to accept and love yourself just as you are instead of trying to change a bunch of stuff about yourself first. Instead of focusing on a long list of to-dos, this could be a time you decide to take a few small steps towards self-acceptance.

You don't have to be [fill in the thing you struggle with the most] in order to love yourself. You don't have to lose weight, payoff debt, get in a relationship, buy a bigger house, start a business, or anything else in order to feel good about who you are as a person.

Individual therapy at The NEST provides you with a chance to collaborate with a licensed mental health professional to create the meaningful change you desire for your life. Your therapist will work with you in the areas you want to address. If you've been setting New Year's resolutions in the past in order to feel better about yourself, this may be the best place to start.

Prioritize healing

There are many people that have experienced challenges, loss, and heartbreak in 2021. If that's you, you may benefit from taking some time to rest and heal instead of trying to charge ahead into a new year like you have in the past and that's OK.

If you're grieving, allow yourself time to grieve and heal. Or, if you've experienced trauma, difficult situations, or are struggling with your mental health, this may be the right time to focus on the things you need to do to feel better now and in the future.

Instead of setting new lofty goals, you may simply want to focus on getting back to feeling like your normal self again. You don't need to feel bad for not working towards anything more than that. If you want support in your journey, The NEST therapists can help.

Create a self-care routine

Self-care activities are things you do that help you feel your best mentally, physically, and emotionally. Some self-care activities apply to everyone like eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising.

There are also self-care activities that are more personalized. For example, journaling every day may help you organize your thoughts and feel your best, but the thought of journaling may be stressful to someone else. Someone else may enjoy talking on the phone with a family member on a regular basis as part of their support system where you may benefit more from attending a support group.

The key is to find what works the best for you. Think about what activities help you feel your best and try to do them more often.

Cut out things that cause you unnecessary stress

If you feel like your mental health and wellness have been suffering, work on identifying why you feel that way. Are there certain people in your life that cause you to stress? Is there a situation that leaves you feeling exhausted? Are there challenges you don't know how to overcome?

Work on identifying where your stress and overwhelm is coming from so you can start taking steps forward in that area. This could be cutting back on spending time with a person in your life, working toward a career change, cutting out a bad habit, or creating a plan to make a change in a specific area. You won't know what the change is you need to make until you identify where the stress is coming from.

Limit your time on social media

There are numerous studies sharing the negative impact that social media has on our mental health. We're not saying you shouldn't use it at all, but be intentional about using it in a way that benefits you. Enjoy looking at the pictures of your friend's new baby or laughing at a few funny memes, but don't lose yourself in the constant scroll.

Remember to connect with people outside of the digital space. Call your friends and family on the phone. Get together in person if you can.

There are apps you can use to monitor the amount of time you're on your favorite social media platforms or you may enjoy doing a digital detox for a day periodically. Most importantly, pay attention to how you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically after you're on social media. If you notice you don't like the way you feel, allow that to be your motivation to alter how much time you spend scrolling.

Ask for help

You don't have to figure out how to make the positive change that you want to see in your life alone. Many people benefit from working with a therapist, joining a support group, or connecting with others who can help guide them through the process and keep them accountable.

If you know that you want to feel better and more like yourself and aren't sure where to start, call The NEST Clinic to be matched with the therapist that is right for you and your unique needs. You don't have to go through the process on your own.

Do what is right for you

The main thing we want you to walk away with after reading this is the confidence to know you can choose what is right for you. If you're a person who is motivated by the goalsetting process, then enjoy the process of setting goals for 2022. But if you're a person that feels overwhelmed and stressed at the idea of setting resolutions for the upcoming year, you don't have to do it.

The sole purpose of a resolution or goal is to help you improve in an area you want to change. If the process of doing that is crippling you and your confidence instead of motivating you, it's OK to skip setting 2022 resolutions.

If you want help and support as you move into 2022, our licensed therapists at The NEST Clinic are here for you. Call 651-425-9297 or schedule an appointment online today.

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