New Years Resolutions – yes or no?

So, we've made it to the end of another difficult year.  The new year brings with it vows to make changes to our lives in the hope that by this time next year we'll achieve happiness.  But do they work?

The facts

Did you know that around 60% of us make New Year Resolutions but only 8% manage to achieve them?  How would you feel at the end of the year, knowing that you had these great plans but didn't achieve them?  Setting goals that we stand no chance of achieving can be damaging to our mental health.  Yet, still we do it every year.

What do we want to achieve?

A survey of 2000 people shows that the top 10 wishes are listed below.

1. Eat healthily

2. Exercise more

3. Lose weight

4. Save more and spend less

5. Learn a new skill or hobby

6. Quit smoking

7. Read more

8. Find another job

9. Drink less alcohol

10. Spend more time with family and friends

Why does it go wrong?

There are a number of reasons for this.

The first one is that we try to take on too  much.  If you decide you want to lose a lot of weight, take up exercise, drink less and quit smoking that's a lot of pressure to put on yourself.  If you slip and fail with one thing then you will probably think "that's it, I've failed at everything" and stop.

The other is that you set your sights too high - you might want to lose 5 stone in weight, but it's going to be a struggle to do it by 6 months.  Or you might want to improve your fitness and start with a week of setting off running 5k.  Aiming for a target that is just too much can be demoralising and cause you to quit.

Lastly, we sometimes think that if we change one thing it will make us happy, when really, it's not that thing we need to change.

What can I do?

One of the first things is to understand what is really going on.  You can do this using a Wheel of Life.  This useful tool will help you identify what things you aren't happy with.

Then, think carefully about your goals.

  • Are they realistic?
  • Can you break them down into small chunks?
  • Are you trying to change too much?  This podcast might be really useful to help you think about just changing one thing at a time.
  • Take time to celebrate your achievements - this video gives some great ideas.
  • Do things that you enjoy - if you don't like working out in the gym, why not go for a walk, or a swim?  You will be more likely to keep it up if you enjoy it.

NECS would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and healthy 2022.

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