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Making a New Year's Resolution That Will Stick

by ThatWriterWoman 4 months ago in goals
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How to make that resolution become a part of your everyday life.

Making a New Year's Resolution That Will Stick
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It's a classic: a New Year's resolution will start with confidence and optimism, only to be abandoned a week or so later. We've all done it! Here I will suggest a method of approaching New Year's resolutions which I believe will have a high success rate. Then, I will apply that to my own resolutions and detail them here, as an example - please enjoy!

Why We Struggle

By Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

A fundamental part of making New Year's resolutions is the examination of our own lives. We comb through the year through which we have lived, carefully looking for things to pick out. Things that we would like to improve in the future. This is where I believe the first shortcoming of New Year's resolutions occurs. Looking into our lives with the intention of finding something to 'fix' is perhaps not the best way to start a new year. While self-improvement is a healthy part of maintaining ourselves, self-depreciation followed by the overwhelming pressure to resolve 'flaws' is not. I believe that using negative emotions to fuel positive change has little chance of success and will instead lead to weakened trust in ourselves as we fail over and over.

The second shortcoming of these resolutions is the expectation of failure. Often, we set unachievable goals with the intention of letting them fade away within the first few months of the new year. That way, we have at least achieved something, right? Well, unfortunately, this can lead to the same resolutions being set year after year, as they have not become habits.

The third and final shortcoming which I tend to come across is the punishment we give ourselves when resolutions are not achieved. Noone is tougher on us than ourselves. We tend not to give ourselves the self-care needed to achieve goals, and then expect success. Then, when the impossible is not achieved or surpassed, we hate ourselves for it!

Here, I will suggest a three-step resolution plan to help restore confidence and trust in oneself through the formation of new habits. Then, detail my own resolutions for 2022! Enjoy!

By Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

1) A 'Maintain' Resolution

This resolution looks at the past year in a positive light, picking out the good things which have brought joy into our lives. The goal here is to maintain them over the next year. By doing so, we will set ourselves up with a sense of confidence!

For myself, the maintenance resolution which I will be keeping is taking care of my houseplants. I'm a new houseplant owner, having bought all of my windowsill babies in 2021 and I have no intentions of stopping! What I enjoy about them is each one has unique care needs which I attend to. This gives me a sense of accomplishment as I can not only keep them alive but help them grow in the future! I understand this as a beautiful metaphor, which alludes to my own self-care and growth. That's a wonderful thought - care and growth. One which sets me up well for the next two resolutions.

2) A 'Change' Resolution

This resolution will be the one that follows the standard pattern. By simply picking out something that we want to change, we have our 'change' resolution. However, while this may follow the standard pattern of New Year's Resolutions, it is important to not fall back into old depreciating habits. Picking out something that we want to change for the betterment of self, must not come at the sacrifice of respect.

For myself, I will be changing my sleeping habits. I suffer from a condition called Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder. This is a type of depression that, in my case, causes emotional instability in the winter months. Alongside this, my sleep schedule has no coherent pattern during this time. As I write this, it is 2:29 AM and I am not even close to feeling tired - because I woke up at 4:00 PM yesterday after 16h of sleep! While a realise that this is a luxury, I am starting to recognise that this delay in circadian rhythm is stopping me from living life to the full. I am missing out on seeing my family and that is something I cannot tolerate much longer. I believe that slowly correcting my sleep schedule will lead to a more fulfilling life.

I intend to achieve this by using sleep hygiene - a concept that uses a variety of methods to put oneself in the best position for sleep every night. This could involve clean sheets, a comfortable mattress or simply getting into bed on time. I feel as if my biggest enemy is: screens. I often go to bed only to pull out my phone and scroll until exhaustion takes over. This is not only delaying sleep but stopping my ability to feel true tiredness. Instead, I view the point of collapse as the time to go to sleep. Going into this new year, I would like to reduce and eventually faze out screens in bed. I am hoping this will help me tune into my body, and understand when I am truly tired. This will lead to better sleep quality and, hopefully, more time with my loved ones!

3) A 'Self-care' resolution

This resolution is one that enables you to complete the others. Arguably, this is the most important one. The self-care resolution is one that prioritises the actions needed to maintain motivation for the other resolutions. These actions will be based on what works for us to relax and grow some serenity.

I view my stress levels as a cup, which fills up with water when more stress arrives. The only way for the water to drain is through a small hole in the bottom of the cup. Once the cup overflows, the water spills out and I have a meltdown and abandon tasks. As a New Year's resolution is a change of routine, it will add stress when first applied. Therefore, I must allow more time for the water to drain out of the cup to avoid a meltdown. In addition, adding some self-care can open up another hole in the bottom of the cup, letting more stress water drain away into the metaphorical abyss sink!

I intend to use a combination of good rest and relaxing events as my self-care resolution. Rest does not mean sleep, it means to relax and recuperate. Physically, this could mean a hot bath with some fancy soap. Mentally, this could mean a meditation using some relaxing music. As such, this resolution has the most flexibility. The only promise is to try and drain the stress away.

I have been referred to an ADHD clinic as of a few months ago but the process of researching the condition has introduced me to a concept: overstimulation. This is defined as feeling overwhelmed with sensory input. It is more common in people with ADHD, but everyone is susceptible. Whether it's wanting some quiet after work, needing to close our eyes during a sunny day, or not wearing scratchy clothes, we all have to regulate our sensory input. This concept acts as a guide for this resolution as it will involve crafting areas of low sensory input. Areas with low light, good smells, soft textures, plain food, and quiet noise are ideal as they stimulate us enough to not get bored but not enough to feel overwhelmed.

One of the largest sensory inputs is through the skin, as it envelops your body. As such, having a self-care resolution that involves a soft space is almost essential. I recommend having a fresh bed to retreat to. Ideally, one padded with a squishy mattress and well-aired pillows!

By Rumana S on Unsplash

Good Luck!

I am hoping by sharing this resolution structure, we can begin to heal the lack of trust we have fostered through the expectation of failure. We can succeed if we give ourselves the best chance and not punish ourselves when we are unable to complete a task. It is possible for a New Year's resolution to become a lifetime habit. So good luck to us all!

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About the author

ThatWriterWoman

An aspiring female writer from the UK, 23. Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThatWriterWoman

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