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After listening to a podcast on improving our New Year’s resolutions by rethinking them in a way where we avoid putting so much pressure on ourselves, I felt inspired to remodel my process this year. After almost three weeks, I feel much happier with the progress I’ve made towards my resolutions. Here are some helpful tips that I started with!

First, it helps to change the way you think about the resolution.

My process usually involves reflecting on areas I can improve upon from the previous year, and creating resolutions that will serve to refine those areas. This involves generating a list of specific changes that I can implement into my daily routine to accomplish a long-term goal. For example, last year, I wanted to spend more time outdoors. Instead of going to the gym, I would go for a run outside. I would aim for at least 10,000 steps per day. 

This worked well while it was warm but, in mid-February, I decided it was too cold, and fell out of these habits. Once that happened, it was hard to find any motivation to get back into them. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they encourage you to put so much weight onto a drastic change that you are not used to. This inevitably results in burnout, which often encourages us to give up on our objectives.

Creating goals for the New Year is a great idea, but putting pressure on these goals often negates the increased productivity you experience while trying to achieve them. The point of any resolution is to make you feel accomplished but when a larger goal feels more and more out of reach, you can easily feel burnt out after a couple of weeks and will ultimately be left without feeling accomplished at all. 

To avoid this exhausting process in 2022, it might help to shift your mindset towards your goals. Instead of taking your resolutions so seriously, think of them as something to keep in the back of your mind. 

After you take some of the weight off your resolutions, it gets a lot easier to maintain them. 

Start off with a minor change for the first few weeks of the year. Once that change becomes a normal part of your life, work towards another goal for the next month. It helps when you slowly adjust to a new routine, as opposed to starting off with dramatic changes. If you want to start going to the gym for example, you may start going for an hour, once a week, and then going more often when you feel ready. 

This year, I still want to spend more time outdoors, but I am starting out by walking to the gym. I plan to add more minor changes to this goal each month, eventually amounting to a hopeful 10,000 steps per day. With just these small changes, I am already doing better than I was last year because this is now something that I am prioritizing.

It’s all about patience and trusting yourself.

You do not need to be perfect on the first day of the New Year. You should continue to work towards long term goals throughout the year and enjoy the process of doing so.

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Amelia St. John

Dalhousie '24

Amelia is in her second year at Dalhousie University, studying marine biology with minors in journalism studies and finance. She enjoys writing and loves fashion. After her studies at Dalhousie, she wants to pursue a career in science writing.
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