2022 is here at last! It’s a bit hard to process the new year, considering 2020 and 2021 have both felt like a continuous fever dream. You’d think we’d all want to take it easy given that the last collectively “normal” year was 2019, yet the pressure to make bold New Year’s resolutions remains.
Goal-setting can help maintain a positive, growth-mindset, and a new year gives a proper benchmark for when to begin. Not all resolutions are harmful to your mental health, such as picking up a passion project, spending more time resting after a busy year, or setting on developing new study habits. With that in mind, some resolutions can quickly become detrimental, including a few of the more popular ones. Some of the trends to be careful with when making goals include:
Maybe your aim for this year is to work harder or “accomplish more.” Measurable goals help track our progress, but they can also put pressure on us to overwork ourselves even when our bodies are screaming that they need rest. In peak quarantine, the internet pushed ideas of using the “extra” time for good, often coming in trending waves of baking fancies, at-home workout classes, or taking DIY crafting to an extreme extent. Similarly, New Year’s resolutions may make you feel as though you need to do something life-altering this year. It’s okay if all you do this new year is survive. Take risks, experience new and beautiful things, but do so to feel alive, because you truly want to. You do not need to push yourself past your breaking point in the pursuit of productivity. It is hard enough living through a pandemic and the typical stresses that come with being a human in this world.
Instead of overwhelming yourself with intense resolutions, take steps to protect your mental health. Recognize where you may be overworking yourself, and find a self-care routine or coping mechanisms, like journaling, walking, listening to music, or talking with friends and family, that can give you moments of calm amidst pressures and stress.
Comparing Yourself to Others
Especially after Covid has shaken all our lives, you may catch yourself stalking your friends or influencers on social media, finding that their lives look seemingly perfect compared to your own. Remember, most social media serves as a highlight reel. Avoid competing with other people’s accomplishments, we all grow at our own pace. An alternative resolution for New Year’s may be spending less time on social media or reevaluating the way you use it. Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good, post what makes you happy. If social media isn’t compatible with your mental health, it’s okay to delete it or take a cleanse for however long you need to. Social media should be adding to your life, not taking away from it!
Losing Weight or Starting a New Diet
It is completely unnecessary to set weight loss or dieting goals for the new year. Not only can dieting have profoundly negative impacts on your mental health and encourage harmful behaviors around food, but they also aren’t sustainable. Instead of focusing on arbitrary diets, place your emphasis on making healthy changes in your routine, like eating nutritious foods or moving every day in a way that feels energizing for you. If you’re looking to make a change in your diet, New Year’s could be a good time to start working towards body neutrality and eating intuitively.
Setting goals for the new year can be helpful; they can serve as a checkpoint to assess what you want to change moving forward and how you’d like to see yourself grow. However, know that when resolutions become toxic, it’s okay to just leave them behind.