Many people believe New Year's resolutions are a great way to reinvent themselves and accomplish the goals they've been putting off. However, the reality is that their initial enthusiasm often gives way to stress and perfectionism. Let's delve into why this happens.
The Stress of Societal Expectations:
Our society tends to romanticize the idea of a fresh start at the beginning of the year. The media bombards us with images of happy individuals who achieve success through the magic of New Year's resolutions. This curated version of reality contributes to comparison as individuals measure their progress against others.
These platforms rarely show people facing any setbacks in achieving their goals. Instead, they show flawless transformations and imply results will happen if the person tries hard enough. This idea of a possible quick change provides a false sense of confidence and motivation.
In reality, New Year's resolutions make people feel inadequate from the very beginning. They also add more stress to a person's life when one feels pressure to develop unnecessary goals.
Perfectionism and Comparison:
During New Year, my clients often feel they must set ambitious goals, like achieving a perfect body, landing dream jobs, or completely changing their lifestyles. This pressure to reach perfection leads to unrealistic goals and a constant cycle of self-criticism.
In this way, New Year's resolutions add to stress and burnout. They reinforce all-or-nothing thinking. And they leave little room for personalizing goals to one's lifestyle.
The need to feel like one must constantly reinvent themselves is detrimental to one's mental health. Feeling good enough becomes challenging if you constantly compare yourself to others and focus on perfection.
A Cycle of Failure and Shame:
New Year's resolutions don't usually correlate with long-term change.
These kinds of resolutions inevitably encounter challenges due to everyday life. External factors such as work stress, unexpected life events, or simply the demands of daily life can quickly derail things.
The cycle of setting New Year's resolutions and then feeling like a failure when you don't reach them is a recipe for disappointment. Individuals can internalize the sense of not measuring up to the standard of success and feel unnecessary shame and guilt.
As a therapist, I've seen the emotional toll this shame can take on individuals. This shame can be paralyzing, hindering the ability to learn from setbacks and move forward with resilience.
What to Focus on Instead:
Instead of focusing on sweeping external transformation, try gradual internal adjustments. When I work with clients on realizing their self-worth, they can see that there aren't many things they need to change about themselves or their lives.
Learning to understand and appreciate yourself helps you build confidence. This inner security supports living your life flexibly and adhering to your values.
As a result, you feel more present and can engage in activities that bring you fulfillment. Overall, you start to take pride in yourself and enjoy the growth process, not just focus on the result.
Therapy for Perfectionism and Anxiety in Illinois Can Help:
There's no need to wait for an arbitrary date to do something good for yourself. Schedule a therapy appointment today if you're ready to focus on building your self-worth in a way that supports your life and doesn't add new stress. You can start your therapy journey with Live Lekko by following these simple steps:
- Contact us today. You can also call or text 217-402-7817
- Schedule your first appointment at my Illinois-based practice
- Start overcoming perfectionism!
Other Services Offered with Live Lekko
Therapy for perfectionism isn't the only service offered with Live Lekko. I'm happy to offer a variety of mental health services including therapy for stress relief, people-pleasing, and counseling for women. I'm also happy to offer grief and loss counseling and therapy for childhood emotional neglect. Whether you are in Peoria, Springfield, Mahomet, or somewhere in between in Illinois I can help with online therapy. Feel free to visit my blog for more helpful information.