How to set realistic wellness New Year’s resolutions
It’s that time again, when we start reflecting on the year that’s passed and plan for the one ahead. For many, that includes thinking about the New Year’s resolutions we want to set for ourselves going forward.
While our initial intentions might be good, it’s thought as little as 8 per cent of people stick to their resolutions once the year is up – and there are many reasons for this.
This year, I’m here to help you decide upon the wellness resolutions you can actually stick to, that will serve you best, and give you tips on how to keep them up as the year progresses.
Set intentions rooted in self-love
Let’s face it, language such as ‘new year, new me’ can be loaded with negative connotations or overly high expectations. That’s why I prefer to use the term ‘intentions’, rather than talk about goals or resolutions.
What I’ve learned is, it’s not about telling yourself you’re not good enough, or that you need to completely change yourself. Instead, this year, make wellness intentions that involve being kind to yourself – that come from a place of self-compassion and self-love, and help you feel better in the everyday, not the distant future.
Make them realistic and enjoyable
When your resolutions are unreasonable, you’re simply not going to stick with them. But if you follow my advice, and root your intentions in self-love, then they’re less likely to be wildly unrealistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure from the get-go.
Just starting out as a writer? Then maybe don’t aim for the Booker Prize by the end of the year, for example. Instead, make a daily promise to write just 500 words daily, and you’re much more likely to enjoy the day to day process and to feel proud of your progress as the months go by.
Focus on the ‘why’, not the ‘what’
Author Simon Sinek became a New York Times bestseller with his book, Start With Why, back in 2009 – exploring how people won’t buy into an idea until they understand the ‘why’ behind it. He might have been talking about how to succeed in leadership and business, but I think he’s got a point when it comes to life in general, too.
When setting your wellness intentions for 2022, think about why you’re making a change in your life. Do you want to get fit so you can run around after your little ones in the park? Do you want to take on an evening class so you can make a career change? Or, maybe you want to make a promise to spend five minutes a day listening to affirmations, so you feel calmer and more confident in new social situations.
Put this at the forefront of your mind as you get to work.
Break down the ‘how’ ahead of time
Then, it’s about establishing the ‘how’ of your wellness intentions – how you will work towards them, and how you’ll stay motivated.
If it’s something quite tangible, such as signing up for a new online yoga class, waste no time and get booking while your motivation is still high. Perhaps ask a friend to sign up too, or pay for a block of sessions, so you’re more likely to push yourself on those don’t-want-to-move days.
With other wellness goals, I’d say try to break down your bigger vision into setting smaller intentions every single day. This will help shape the course of your day and keep you on the right track.
Make your daily objectives are attainable
If your 2022 wellness intention is to incorporate meditation into your routine, you could start with making a promise to not look at your phone on your morning commute that day. The next day, you could listen to a short, guided meditation while brushing your teeth; the next, you might set your alarm five minutes earlier to sit in a meditation pose.
These little promises will flex your ‘meditation muscle’, and you can build upon them as the months go by.
Remember to make things easy for yourself, too. Want to journal more? Leave your diary and pen at your bedside, so it will never slip your mind.
Small actions like this soon add up when you’re consistent, and suddenly won’t feel so daunting.
Don’t be deterred by ‘off’ days
Whether your New Year intentions are based around wellness or not, there’s one thing to remember; not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. If your intention is to feed your body with more nutritious foods every day, but one weekend you end up having a takeaway for lunch and a microwave meal for dinner, that’s OK.
The most important thing is to break the cycle. Start the next day with a new intention, and don’t feel guilty about relaxing your own rules now and again. Otherwise, it can put pressure on you, which could negatively affect your mental health.
Check-in and reassess if your ambitions are serving you
And on that note: if you find your new habits aren’t serving you after a month or two, maybe it’s time to reassess. Ultimately, these goals should be a way to help you feel better, whether that’s calmer, more confident or healthier. But the good news is, you’re in control – and you can make new wellness intentions all year round if you want to, not just in January.
Read more from Holly and Nature’s Truth’s expert panel here.