If we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes the very act of making New Year’s resolutions cause the very stress they’re trying to reduce. Trying to commit to a workout schedule, or any other schedule, sometimes sets us up for failure when we burn through the initial motivating stage and land into the same stuck place we started from.
Learning how to lower the stress in our lives – and not add to it with unsuccessful New Year’s resolutions – is the goal for more successful stress management.
Taking goals step by step, and successful planning, are keys to minimizing resolutions-based stress. Being realistic about your goals (practicing what’s feasible) will help succesful achievement of your New Year’s goals. Knowing that maybe a fine six-pack might look great, but how attainable is that, considering the real day-today stressors you deal with in you life?
Great planning goes a long way in goal setting stress management. Knowing what resources you’ll need is key: time, money, support, psychic investment, etc. Being prepared for the steep hike helps when you’ve got all the gear you’ll need when the inevitable speed bumps (or road blocks) appear, including waning motivation levels.
Scheduling is another key to stress-free New Year’s resolution planning. Knowing exactly when, and how often, you’ll be advancing towards your goals is critical. Mapping out the time blocks on the calendar you use most, whether that’s your phone or physical calendar on your fridge, is helpful to knowing how to best use your time to achieve your new goals.
Finally, practice patience and compassion with yourself. Watch your aggravating self-critic trying to undermine your efforts and shoot you down. Remember: the path is also the goal. Most goals are successfully learned and practiced over the course of time, so try to see yourself advancing through the process, not specifically towards goal attainment. It’s the path that’s important to remember, and it’s less likely you’ll quit along the road if you can focus there a little more.