At the start of the new year, conversations buzz with topics of change and self-improvement. Everybody is sharing their resolution for the new year, and the mantra “new year, new you” is embedded in the media. While it’s natural to get caught up in the excitement of progress and change, here are a few things to remember about new year’s resolutions:
Hidden self-improvement messages: People tend to think of self-improvement as a positive topic. However, the hidden message in self-improvement is that you are not okay as you are. If you’re thinking about making changes, try to view that effort as a supplement to who you already are to counter any negative messages that you are not good enough as is.
Don’t set yourself up for failure: People often try to make extreme changes and then feel bad about themselves when they fall short. If you’re planning on making any changes, make sure that you’re creating realistic goals for yourself.
Tie it back to values: People are more fulfilled when they make changes that are meaningful to them. While there might be social pressure to set resolutions around weight loss or time at the gym, see if you can instead connect to something that you really value. Maybe it’s about relationships, self-reflection, or developing meaningful habits. Even if it’s not in the resolution zeitgeist, if it’s important to you, then it’s good enough.
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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