Forget the New Year’s Resolutions and Lower Your Stress Levels
Human nature is a curious thing. So is the phenomenon that we call “New Year’s Resolutions.” Put them together and you have the makings of one of the more stress-inducing benchmarks of adulthood.
Perhaps the idea of a new year and hence, a clean slate, makes us feel that we can absolve ourselves of our bad habits and start all over again. As noble as our intentions may be, many of us set ourselves up for failure before we’ve even left the gate. Our habits are often hard-wired or deeply ingrained and accordingly, not that easy to shake. Yet January 1st each year, a large number of us resolve to change, causing us much stress and anxiety.
A recent article about how to keep one’s New Year’s resolutions outlines tips for those who want to keep the course for the remainder of the year. Suggestions such as “taking baby steps” and “conscripting a buddy” are noted as ways of keeping the resolutions to which one has committed for the coming year.
The fact that there is a “how-to” guide outlining tips for achieving success should be our first clue that perhaps this “resolution” business is not a good idea. If it’s so hard to do, then why bother? Achieving positive change in one’s life should make one feel exhilarated, not stressed.
Here’s a thought: how about making every day New Year’s Day? While it may seem like a great idea to start anew on January 1st, the pressure to keep one’s vaunted New Year’s resolutions is often too much to bear – and to achieve. This is especially the case when these resolutions have been shared with others. No one, after all, wants to appear to have failed soon into the new year.
January 1st is just another day, after all. It is no different than the day preceding it or the one that is to come. Setting goals for oneself is honorable, but shouldn’t be the source of anxiety, stress and in some cases shame (if they’re not achieved).
Forget about the “magic” behind January 1st and make every day New Year’s Day. July 15th or October 23rd are dates that are just as good for making positive changes in one’s life and sticking to them.
The pressure’s off, folks. You can start your diet tomorrow…or a few months from now.