Hello fellow anxious people,
A huge happy new year to you all! (Even though we are 13 days into 2019 already!) I hope all of you had the best Christmas with loved ones and were able to take a bit of time off work to relax and recuperate over the Christmas period. It’s so important to take some time out from the every day stresses of your life once in a while to allow yourself to chill out, physically and mentally. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, especially if you have a very demanding job – or in my case – very demanding children. But I really do recommend putting more effort into your mental health, and by that I mean taking a day off once in a while to simply do nothing! You’ll be surprised what a day off every now and then can do for you and the people around you. Try it! 🙂
(Ben and I this Christmas, 2018. By this point I was already writing my new year’s resolution list and putting a lot of thought into what goals I wanted to achieve this year, if I could realistically achieve them and how I could achieve them. I really recommend writing down a long list of goals you want to achieve, small or big, and then going over them, putting them in priority order and an order from most realistic/likely to achieve to least, and then thinking about how you would achieve them.)
“NEW YEAR, NEW ME”
That dreaded phrase we hear so often on the 1st January of every year!
This blog post is mainly going to revolve around those dreaded new year’s resolutions and how to avoid setting yourself unrealistic resolutions that end up doing you much more harm than good, causing you more stress. I get it, I totally get the excitement and desire of setting yourself new goals for the brand new year ahead of you – a fresh start and all that. I get excited about it every year too! I understand how you want to say goodbye to the stress and bad memories of the previous year and become this new, wiser, healthier and more organised version of yourself, learning from your mistakes and applying them to the new and improved you. However, you can still 100% be a new, wiser, healthier and more organised version of yourself without completely losing who you truly are and without setting yourself huge, unrealistic resolutions. You can still totally be this “new person” simply by setting a few little goals – goals that are easily achievable based on your lifestyle at the time. In fact, by setting yourself small goals that you are much more likely to achieve because they are small, you actually end up feeling a whole lot better than you would do if you had set yourself big goals that are quite unreachable and unachievable when you really think about it. You feel great about yourself and quite proud that you are actually getting through your new year’s resolutions a lot quicker than you thought – because they are realistic goals! So, even though it’s only a few small goals you’re achieving, you still feel so much better about yourself for achieving them nonetheless, and as a result it completely lifts your spirits, gives you more confidence and makes you feel good about yourself. I know a lot about this purely from personal experience — I made the same mistake once of setting myself big new year’s resolutions that were completely unrealistic based on my lifestyle at the time. So, I’m truly and genuinely speaking from the heart here! I’ve also witnessed first hand how much setting unrealistic goals can cause others more harm than good – friends of mine have also made this same mistake and it was really upsetting to watch.
The KEY to setting achievable goals:
The first tip to follow when setting yourself a goal is to take a look at your current lifestyle. Ask yourself some questions about your day-to-day life and routine: how busy are you on a daily basis? What time of day are you busiest and least busiest? When are your days off? How demanding is your job or your family? What time in the evenings do you start getting too tired and need to head to bed? Do you have any disabilities or conditions that could make your resolutions quite dangerous or tricky for you? There’s no point setting yourself a goal such as running 5-10km every day if you work 10-12 hour shifts 5 days a week and don’t get home until late each evening. You’ll quickly realise you just simply do not have the time to run that much every day if you want to live a normal, healthy and sociable life. You’ll become very tired and drained afterwards, meaning you probably won’t ever want to do anything else after your run every day (e.g. seeing friends and family, making dinner, completing chores, doing coursework etc) so now you’ve completely lost your social life too. “Sorry I can’t make it to dinner this evening, I’ve just been for a run (again) and I am totally exhausted/running late/need to get the housework done/coursework done before I go to bed” – You get my point by now. On weeks where you may only manage to run 5-10km 2-3 days a week, you’ll feel crap about yourself and you’ll genuinely feel as if you have failed, when actually running 5-10km that much each week is amazing!! You’ll feel like a failure because you’ve set the bar too high – to run 5-10km every single day. Where as if you had set the bar a little lower, you would have felt ecstatic about yourself for running 5-10km twice a week and it would’ve boosted your confidence and made you feel great. It’s all based on your lifestyle, that’s what it all comes down to at the end of the day. So, before you ever set yourself any kind of goal, ask yourself those questions above and really think about what you will definitely be able to achieve – set the bar low to start with and if over time you realise you have more time in your days to achieve more than what you’ve set yourself – then and only then – set the bar higher.
(Seeing the lights at Kew Gardens was one of my goals for 2018. I knew it would be achievable because not only do I live close to London so it would be easy to get there but also because I knew I would have the time to set aside an evening sometime near Christmas to go. Being able to achieve this goal made me feel great and I enjoyed the lights as much as I knew I would.)
My new year’s resolutions and why I made them:
After making the mistake of setting myself goals that were too difficult to achieve, causing me stress and feeling like a failure when I didn’t accomplish them to the standards I expected, I decided I needed to make my goals much smaller and more realistic. Small goals, but important ones, like making sure I drink 8 glasses of water a day and getting at least 7 hours of sleep every week night. Such important goals, but very realistic and achievable, therefore making you feel great 🙂
I once read a book called 100 SMALL WAYS TO QUIT WORRYING which gave me the inspiration for setting my new year’s resolutions for last year and again this year. This book lists 100 small every-day ways that will help someone stop worrying so much all the time – small ways that you probably wouldn’t ordinarily think of doing before reading that book, so I highly recommend giving it a read. You can find it on Amazon by clicking the link on the title of the book at the start of this paragraph above.
I’m going to list my new year’s resolutions for this year below with the hope of it helping others who are in the position I found myself in a few years ago when I set myself unrealistic goals. I hope these give you some good ideas and inspiration for your own goals you can try and achieve this year. 🙂
1.) Drink 8 glasses of water every day.
2) Do 100 squats every day – at home, at work, wherever! It only takes 5 minutes.
3.) Put in more effort with friends & family – phoning them more often and seeing them more often.
4.) Start a degree in something I am passionate about, through Open University. (I have already achieved this and have just started my degree in Health & Social Care)
5.) Start going to a pilates/yoga class again as often as I can afford at the time and try my best to stick with it for the year. (I am in the process of finding a class close enough to me that I can afford)
6.) Put in more effort to actively meet new people and make new friends (This can achieved in many ways, such as: become a member of an online group and meet people that way, go to the Open University student get-togethers each month, strike up conversation with strangers when I am out and about etc.)
7.) Complete my first year of my degree – don’t give up no matter how hard it may get!
8.) Put myself first a bit more, give myself 1 evening a week of doing something purely just for me – my mental health and happiness matters just as much as everyone else’s. (I have a habit of putting my happiness on hold a lot so that my son, partner, friends or relatives are happier. I hate not being able to please everyone and I hate saying no)
9.) Don’t be afraid of saying no and realise that I simply cannot please everyone. (If anything, this will also make people respect you a little more too. Saying yes to people all the time will give off the false impression that you are a pushover and will do anything that is asked of you no matter how difficult or stressful.)
10.) Walk more! Now that I am unable to drive for the next 5 months due to a one-off seizure at the end of 2018, I will have to walk a lot more. As annoying as this can be, it’ll be great for my physical health and also my mental health – fresh air can do a person wonders!
(Walks along the beach are my favourite – whatever the weather! Some fresh sea air does wonders to your physical and mental health.)
I really hope this blog post has helped some of you in some way or another and given you a bit of inspiration to make your own realistic new year’s resolution list in the quest to start making you feel better about yourself and your abilities. 🙂 I will be posting a lot about my goals for 2019 on my Instagram throughout the year, so feel free to follow my journey with me along the way by following me on @secretlifeofananxiousmum .
Wishing you all the best of luck for 2019!
Lots of love,