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Wellness > Mental Health

What I’m Doing in 2024 to Stop Self-Sabotaging

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

As a 19-year-old, second year university student, I start each semester with the hopes of changing my outlook and mindset. Since high school I have been an anxious overthinker who is constantly stressed about my grades, crying to Phoebe Bridgers at the mere possibility of something not fulfilling my expectations. It seems as though every year, I try to convince myself that perfection is not realistic as I get older, especially in university. Still, as each new semester begins, I find myself quickly falling into a troubling routine with seemingly unachievable goals. I work, sit, and await the highest grades possible, putting enormous amounts of pressure on myself. When you grow up with a perfectionist mentality and are known as this type of student, it’s hard to leave the pressure of perfection. Even when people around you, like your parents or your professors, tell you to “take a break” and that “it’s not the end of the world if you fail one test,” it still feels like you can’t.

My desire for perfection is always there to take my stress to the highest degree and create unhealthy standards for my life.

Now, let me share what I hope to change and stick with this year. Overall, I would love to live a simpler life. By this, I don’t mean I want to be boring this year; I did that enough after constantly working in the library the entire fall semester. My intentions lie in embracing a simpler mindset, with less unimportant thoughts taking up all my energy. In 2024, if it won’t matter in 5 years, think about it for at most 5 minutes . Seeing how, even with the stress in my life, I am still able to hang out with friends and partake in my respective clubs at school, this rule can only allow me more freedom and a healthier well-being.

I understand that I am here in university to be my best academic self, but who says I can’t learn to be the greatest student I can be while also having a life? I dread the day my kids ask about what crazy things I did in university because right now, does staying up until 5 AM every day to finish schoolwork qualify as fun? Maybe it’s not in my DNA to be rebellious or break the rules, but that shouldn’t stop me from taking in my surroundings, no matter where I am.

I hope I can pay more attention to the little things this year. I’m the girl who walks by a small weed on the ground and admires the beauty it holds; the girl who sends her best friends pictures of their angel numbers every time she sees them; the girl who shows her dad a video of their favourite vintage Land Rover that appeared on her Pinterest. I have always cherished this quality and my ability to constantly stay optimistic by looking for the wonder in mundane situations.

Unfortunately, the stress I put on myself creates days that are somewhat contradictory. Even though I am trying to slow down and take it all in, I can’t help but worry that I spoke too much, sounded weird to someone, or didn’t take re ‘in-depth’ notes for an upcoming test.

A new outlook in managing these negative habits is to journal. Being an open book to people in my life and already having tried to journal in the past, I found myself either having nothing to write after I had told my mom or roommates everything about my day or putting it off because I was just too lazy to journal all of my endless thoughts. This year, I am finally sticking to a journaling method of writing one memory a day, big or small, where I can find that appreciative side of myself that loves to stop and smell the roses. Sharing one moment in a private journal allows me to reflect on something I only know about while feeling accomplished or fulfilled in whatever I did that day, even if that one thing is simply getting through another season of Sex and The City or finishing a 40-page reading. These little actions are not so much victories for me but small moments that I can look back on at any point in my life, allowing me to relive these significant or possibly insignificant memories.

As a final note, here are some minor things I want to introduce into my daily life. Maybe if I share them here, I’ll feel more obligated to follow through since I’ve told you, the individual who is reading this right now, about them.

Molly, remember to be mindful; put effort into everything you do, but remember to not overwork yourself so you have enough energy to get through the day and spread your love to others. Remind yourself that you are healthy and happy, and to have that is lucky, so be grounded in gratitude. Along with this, remember not to rush through your day so you can stop to appreciate what surrounds you and share joy; you never know what holding the door open or complimenting an outfit does for someone’s day.

While this may not have been the typical 2024 “resolution” piece of writing, I hope this gives you a chance to reflect on your daily life and take action. There is more life beyond getting through the day and surviving!

Molly Taylor

McMaster '26

Molly Taylor is starting her first year as a part-time writer for the Her Campus Magazine at McMaster. She is in her second year of Social Psychology with a minor in Environment and Society. Outside of Her Campus, Molly loves to meet new people on campus and join unique clubs that will enrich her McMaster journey. She was a Welcome Week Representative for the 2023 McMaster Welcome Week, interacting with incoming first years and spreading optimism throughout the campus. She is currently a general member of the McMaster ProcrastiKnitters club, Mac Swift Society, and Sign Language Club. She loves to learn about the psychology of social interaction and the stress of gender expectations. Molly thrives when spending time with family and friends, but also loves to take time for herself. If she has free time, Molly is likely watching Gilmore Girls, New Girl, or one of the Real Housewives franchise shows, surfing Pinterest, going on a walk around campus, reading a new book, or baking with her roommates. Molly adores music and her favourite artists range from Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and Phoebe Bridgers, to The Beatles, Olivia Rodrigo, and the Glee Cast.