I personally love setting New Years Resolutions each year and get extremely excited about them. I love the process. First, I like to reflect on my past year to help me become aware of what worked or didn’t work and what I might want to change or improve next year. I look at this time of year as a fresh start and an opportunity to live a happier and more satisfied life.
The new year is an ideal time to do a check in with yourself and ask yourself if you really are living the way that you want to live. This allows me to be more intentional and purposeful with my choices. I think one of the reasons that I love New Year’s Resolutions so much is because I have the tools to make them successful and not stressful for myself and others. Read on to learn a few of these tips from supervising life- coaching therapist, Krista Roesler, co-founder of Psych Company.
Reasons Why New Years Resolutions Can be Stressful
New Year’s resolutions can certainly be stressful when individuals do not:
- set certain boundaries.
- get the right advice and help to ensure they stay healthy.
- get the appropriate help for the things that get in the way of meeting them.
Resolutions can be stressful when someone adds and compounds the stressfulness by:
- overthinking them.
- setting unrealistic expectations.
- Not breaking them down into doable chunks.
How Can We Approach New Years Resolutions in a More Manageable Way?
We can approach goals in a more manageable but effective way by hiring a coach to help out. A coach can give you the tools that you might not currently possess. The first thing I would do with a client who is stressed out by setting resolutions is to help the client manage the stress and feelings of being overwhelmed – our goal is to turn the making of and achieving New Year’s Resolutions into a positive experience. Here’s an example: I might first check if the client’s life is already filled with so much stress that adding something new would be too much. Maybe the resolution would be to reduce stress. Maybe the client has to get rid of something to fit something new into their lives. You can’t just keep adding things without taking something else away. Or on the other hand maybe someone instead needs to challenge themselves a little more; perhaps their current stress stems from feeling underutilized at work or from the toll that procrastination can take. Each client has different needs and an experienced life coach will be adept in addressing individual and unique needs.
Questions a coach asks to help a client set less stressful resolutions:
Does the client need to ….
- ask for help with things?
- say no to things?
- delegate things?
- get rid of things that that don’t work to fit their new goals?
Or other examples are:
- Does the client set goals that are too much and don’t fit in their lives?
- Does the client try to do it all right away and give up because that is impossible?
- Does the client realize that goals take time and patience?
Make your goals realistic and manageable
For example, if you are new mom with a full-time job and little support don’t expect as much from yourself as someone who doesn’t have children and has lots of support. A manageable goal might be to read a book of short stories rather than committing to a thousand-page novel.
Factor in and anticipate mistakes on the way to achieving your goal.
Usually, we are so hard on ourselves about slip ups. This is where most people give up on their resolutions. Expect to slip up and figure out how you can get back on track as quickly as possible as opposed to wasting time judging and beating yourself up for making a mistake which typically leads to quitting a goal.
Don’t rigidly hold tight to goals that aren’t working – adjust them.
Just like as the wind changes and a ship adjusts its sails to accommodate the change we must also be flexible and adapt. Don’t be afraid to check in and adjust the goal as you go. If you start your goal and realize you can’t possibly do it in the timeframe you chose. Change the time frame and don’t judge or be hard on yourself about it. Work on being flexible and going with the flow of things. It’s a lot easier than trying to force it when it’s not working or not possible.
2 Strategies to Avoid New Year Resolution Stress
Below are two excellent strategies to build stress relief into the way you set goals. The first is by focusing on goals that relate to how happy and satisfied you are in your life. The second is by setting balanced goals. Keep reading to learn how.
1) How to Set Happiness and Satisfaction Goals
To focus on your levels of happiness-satisfaction, first consider your current state. Where you are today in terms of happiness and satisfaction? Next, explore where you want to be in terms of these two factors. Finally, come up with bite-sized steps that take you closer to your desired state.
It is way less stressful to set goals that are increasing these two levels as setting goals like this leads you away from stress.
2) How to Set Balanced Goals
When setting goals include and explore all of the different categories of your life such as health, fun and recreation, career, the environment, and the community you live in, relationships, money, etc. This allows you to plan your time and energy to go to areas that help promote a balanced lifestyle. Hyper-focusing on only one area (i.e., career) will cause you to get off-balance and stressed out. Setting balanced goals will help you to reduce daily stress levels. That way stress reduction is built into the process.
We realize that goal setting and follow through is a lot more complex and not easy for anyone – even us! So reach out to book a session with one of our expert Toronto life coaches to get help!