I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions, but it's been harder to resist in recent years.
Although I don't seek it, I see self-improvement information everywhere I turn. I now know the most common resolutions (improved diet, exercise, and productivity), how they don't change much over the years, and when they fail (usually between mid-January and the beginning of February).
I also see how headlines and conversations recirculate with more information that I believe shame and blame the individual for why resolutions fail. Articles about New Year's resolutions imply a need for one to have more self-discipline, work harder, or make better resolutions. This kind of messaging leads to more stress. And if you're like my clients and have a history of anxiety and depression, then New Year's resolutions are likely to worsen your symptoms.
It's time to start viewing New Year's resolutions as another way to burnout and reexamine the need for them in the first place.
New Year's resolutions make you the problem.
The most common resolutions fail no matter how much you prepare for them because they focus on an all-or-nothing mentality. They also restrict necessary components of well-being like food and rest. They also push your limits to extremes and lead to punishment of the body and mind. For example, current New Year's resolutions impose standards of planning your day to the minute, waking up at the crack of dawn, spending hours at the gym daily, and preparing your meals in advance with nutritional precision.
And when you fail at these resolutions, it's a question of lack of motivation and willpower versus the New Year's resolutions themselves being the issue.
I find approaches like New Year's resolutions as the problem, not the idea that my clients have something inherently wrong with them. My clients are not lazy. Instead, they are already doing too much. They work hard and care for their families, usually with increasing demands on their time and attention and a lack of support and resources.
This kind of bombardment of self-improvement misinformation in the form of New Year's resolutions makes people question if they're doing enough and wastes their energy. It's also a distraction from more critical issues in a person's life.
New Year's resolutions shift the focus from working through anxiety and depression.
In therapy, I often remind my clients that their exhaustion is real.
They often feel like they are doing something wrong by not making resolutions. They don't want it to seem like they don't care about growth and development. They experience the pressure of self-improvement in society and the judgment of having less energy than others. This fear makes it easy for my clients to get into habits of working outside their limits.
But New Year's resolutions are not real and will give you a false sense of relief. Your need for rest is valid, and it's okay to resist further self-improvement and allow yourself to recover.
Begin Anxiety Treatment in Champaign, IL
In the next blog post, I will continue with suggestions on how not to distract with New Year's resolutions and how to replace New Year's resolutions with rest and recovery. I would be honored to provide in-person and online support across Illinois. If you are interested in starting your therapy journey with Live Lekko, please follow these steps:
- Schedule a free consultation today
- Meet with a caring therapist
- Start coping with stress in a healthy way
Other Services Offered with Live Lekko LLC
At my therapy practice, I help with more than just anxiety treatment. I understand there are a number of mental health concerns you may face. This is why I'm happy to also offer help with therapy for childhood emotional abuse, depression, and burnout. Other mental health services offered include counseling for women, grief, and people-pleasing. Since I offer online therapy in Illinois, no matter where you are, I am here for you. Get in contact with me today!