Making New Year’s resolutions is one of the most popular traditions of the holiday season.
Meant to be a motivational goal for healthy habits, the tradition is a source of anxiety for many. Despite the stress, almost 85% of people said they were “confident” in achieving their resolutions last year; however, only 22% had stuck to them by February.
Difficult, stressful and unrealistic, New Year’s resolutions often do more harm than good. So, how can we ensure we’re setting realistic, healthy, and achievable goals that won’t stress us out?
Here are 5 tips for avoiding the typical stress of a New Year’s resolution:
1. Skip the resolution tradition altogether.
Sometimes, we put so much pressure on ourselves to grow into our “best selves” while telling everyone that “this is our year.” Of course, it’s always good to want to achieve these bigger and better feats, but more often than not, we deserve (and need) a bit of grace.
Yoga teacher @thedailyvictorian shared how not having a resolution is just as good as having one. “There will be joy in it, you will be a good person in it, and you will deserve your own love in it,” she explained.
If we gain or lose weight, cut our hair shorter or grow it long, or fail to work out every day, we’re still worthy of a joyful, happy, and fulfilling life.
2. Stop weaponizing your ‘failed’ New Year’s resolutions as a reason to be unhappy.
Only 9% of people typically fulfill their New Year’s goals, meaning the vast majority of people are disappointing themselves each year (usually by February).
We set unrealistic goals, habits, and resolutions that often don’t fit our lifestyle. We try to change the entirety of our daily lives to achieve these things and hurt ourselves along the way. Instead, try setting yourself up for success by giving yourself achievable goals throughout the year.
3. Chase goals because you love yourself, not because you think you’ll love yourself more once you achieve them.
It’s the root of almost every New Year’s resolution — losing weight, saving for that one cosmetic procedure, spending time reading in a coffee shop — we want habits that make us love ourselves.
Whether it’s our physical appearance or our intellect, we set goals not for the enjoyment and care of our present selves, but for the hope that in the future we’ll be more comfortable in our own skin.
Instead of pressuring ourselves and making it apparent that “we’re not good enough” now, set goals or make plans that help you to appreciate your “now self.” If you slip up on a goal or find yourself slacking on your New Year’s resolution, you can still find a way to love yourself instead of wasting another day wishing you were different.
4. Use your mistakes and slip-ups as motivators to get back on track.
Remember that it’s okay to slip up on your New Year’s goals, or use them as a reminder that the goal was an unhealthy one from the jump. When we embrace failure, we give ourselves the grace to be human.
It’s okay, even normal and appropriate, for us to slip up on our goals. However, the problem with these resolutions is that they’re rooted in our self-hatred so when we mess up, we always blame ourselves.
5. Offer support to others on their resolution journey.
“Some of y’all should be ashamed,” Kyenne Weeks on TikTok said. “We all started somewhere, so why would we try to make people feel uncomfortable?”
Weeks might just be talking about the shaming of new gym-goers, but a lot of people feel the pressure of trying new things and going to new spaces during the New Year. We all need some kind of “third place” or hobby to get us out of the house, so why would we shame those trying something new?
It’s really just a gate-keeping of spaces that people hold important to themselves. We protect the things that we find joy, calmness, and peace within. However, both can be true at the same time. We can protect the spaces we love, while also appreciating that new people deserve a chance at experiencing them, as well.
If you’re thinking about your New Year’s resolutions or the year upcoming, consider one of the tips above to reduce the anxiety of the tradition and provide some grace to yourself after a long year.
Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture and human interest stories.