Pressure Behind New Years Resolutions

By now everyone has heard about habits and the power of habits for helping engrain positive, or negative, behaviours. New Years provides the most heralded opportunity for starting new, ostensibly healthy, habits.

And as popular as this practice has become there are both supporters and detractors of concept of New Year’s resolutions.

Regardless, of where you sit on this spectrum, we can all agree that resolutions can be a source of anxiety. Here are a few of the common sources of anxiety and how to positively reframe them:

  1. Everyone is doing it, so I should too: the obvious weakness of this argument is that our life experience is unique, and what works for one person has nothing to do with anybody else. Even if it’s an undeniably positive habit, the timing might not be right, or other priorities may need more immediate attention.
  2. I need to start this January 1st: every habit has a similar structure: cue, (craving), routine, and reward. January 1st is effectively one big cue. However, when the focus is on the cue (January 1st) instead of the opportunity to evolve, the process becomes pathological. Any time is a great time to try to improve our circumstances. January 1st simply reminds us of this. There is nothing inherently negative about this if we see it as an opportunity and not an obligation

I believe the key to consciously evolving is awareness. If we see January 1st as simply an opportunity to become more aware, then it can be a powerful ally in making positive change. And this awareness incudes noticing any baggage or judgement that we pile on this ceremonial milestone. Lose the pressure, focus on the awareness and all will turn out as it should.

And when in doubt…

Pause. Breathe, And Quiet the NOISE.

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