Hannah, Orri’s Eating Disorder & Research Associate, shares her suggestions for a kinder approach to New Year Resolutions.
This year has been an interesting year to say the least, but it is important to look back at the year and reflect on what it has taught us.
Often, our New Year’s resolutions are fueled by a desire to be what we assume is a “better” person. A lot of the time, these resolutions on the surface feel as though they are coming from a good place, but with the general rhetoric of “no one sticks to their NY resolution within a month anyway” maybe we’re going wrong somewhere. Often, we push ourselves to try new things, take on big responsibilities, or try to make new rules which might turn our worlds upside down. Rather than these enormous, and most likely unrealistic, expectations, let’s take things back to the start.
During lockdown, the pressure to do what others expected of us vanished and we were left to our own devices. Our calendars were wiped clean and the busy lifestyle that might lead to burnt out was ceased. Within this, we were challenged with quietness, loneliness, and often fears that we weren’t doing “enough”. However, it also meant there was more time to take things just a little bit slower. This might have meant taking more time out for ourselves, checking in on ourselves and our loved ones more regularly, or doing things that made us feel good without the pressure of what makes others feel good.
Whilst the “New Year New Me” rhetoric will be on every street corner, we ask you to consider what this may mean to you. Rather than removing something from your life, which is often observed during the New Year period, why not try and add something that long term will have a beneficial effect on your life, and your recovery. This may include:
- Adding connection into your life by calling a friend or family member a little more regularly.
- Starting a new hobby which practices self-care and mindfulness.
- Improving your self-compassion by taking more time out for yourself, or not criticising yourself so heavily.
- Writing a journal or expressing and understanding your emotions in another way to allow yourself to effectively navigate difficult situations.
- Give yourself permission to feel kindness and compassion from within and from those around you.
New Years resolutions are often broken within the first few weeks because the expectation is too hard, unmanageable, or lowers your mood. By making positive, simple changes, you’re much more likely to stick to it because it makes you feel good.
Whether you decided to make a New Years resolution or not, take small steps. Thinking about the bigger picture or the end point can be overwhelming and feel out of reach. Have your goal in mind, but think about tiny, manageable steps you can take to get there to increase the feeling of reward and reduce the feeling of failure.