Bring in the new year with a new you… or not

How to maintain your mental stability in the face of New Year's resolutions

Remember, just because it’s a new year, you don’t have to give into the pressure to change. (Harry Metcalfe/Flickr)

The time has come and you know for a fact the month of January is going to be flooded with the phrase “new year, new me” and nothing brings more anxiety to my mind than the pressure of doing a complete 180°. New Year’s resolutions will begin pouring in and here’s how you can survive the stress, fear and possible failure of the “new you”.

If you’re like me, you can recall the end of December rolling around and the little things that you’ve thought about changing throughout the year start pinging around your brain. The New Year seems like the perfect time to start fresh, switch it up and finally begin doing what you’ve been whining about for the entirety of the previous year.

When I googled ‘New Year’s Resolution’ I was bombarded with over 215 million results, which gives you an idea of how widespread the concept of “new year, new me” really is. Many of the results flooded across my screen circled around a few very common questions:

  • What are the top New Year’s resolutions?
  • How do I make a good New Year’s resolutions?
  • Why should I make a New Year’s resolution?

That last question is what got me thinking. Why? Why are we doing this?

I myself have been guilty of setting a New Year’s resolution but without knowing why I was doing it. Sometimes it was my elementary school teacher instructing the class to make a resolution, other times it was me just following the trends my peers around me were making.

In theory, the idea of a New Year’s resolution is perfect, but when put into action it typically becomes, well, inactive. Making goals can be extremely beneficial for personal growth and that aspect of New Year’s resolutions is what should live on. However, there are a few small but important distinctions you need to set with yourself to actually see success.

The one issue I see year-after-year in both my resolutions and those around me is that there isn’t a plan of action. As much as people tell you to “throw it into the universe” that isn’t the end of that.

Studies by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, state that of those who make New Year’s resolutions 52 per cent carry confidence in themselves that they will successfully follow through yet a mere 12 per cent actually do.

This isn’t meant to deter you away from making goals or New Year’s resolutions, but if you’re going to do it, avoid the stress and possible sadness of failing by actually picking a resolution that is obtainable and realistic.

Here are my own personal tips for actually making a New Year’s resolution that you could see possible success in.

Don’t be vague. Make sure that if or when you decide that you want to make a New Year’s resolution you be as specific as possible of what you want to see yourself do. If you want to become healthier, you first need to define to yourself what this actually means to you.

Make it relatable to you. When setting the goal for yourself, make sure it’s something that you want yourself not a resolution you think you need to make because everyone else around you is also doing the same thing. If you don’t see yourself doing something, don’t. This isn’t to say that you need to limit yourself just because you never did it before but if you have no desire to do it you aren’t going to do it just because you said so in your New Year’s resolution.

Don’t do it. You don’t have to make a New Year’s resolution. You don’t have to wait for a new year to put change into action. If you want to do something, don’t think that it’s less of a goal because it wasn’t made as you rang in the new year.

I’ve failed years of New Year’s resolutions and most of the time I give up after that first fail but that doesn’t mean you stop right then and there. This is where I’ve gone wrong. Pick it up again but maybe just label it as a goal so there isn’t the internal pressure and anxiety of failure.

Whether you make a New Year’s resolution and thrive at the idea of a “new you” or sneer at the idea of buying into another push by companies to better yourself but only with their products, make the new year a successful one according to you.