How do you set goals for the New Year, let alone maintain them in the unpredictable landscape that is 2022? Sophie Jaggers explores the best strategies to both determine and sustain your New Year’s resolutions – 2022 Edition.
The New Year symbolises a fresh start, new opportunities and a time of celebration. Many utilise this time to set goals and to visualise how their habits will change: enter the tradition of the New Year’s Resolution. Unsurprisingly, over half of these resolutions fail, as the optimism of the New Year fizzles and every-day routines take hold. Maintaining resolutions has become increasingly challenging throughout the pandemic. Unpredictability has always been an element plaguing (pun unintended) our plans for the future, however uncertainty has become an increasingly dominant characteristic of 2020, 2021, and most likely, 2022. Here are some recommendations for setting and maintaining your New Year’s resolutions – 2022 Edition.
The Type of Resolution: A major lesson the pandemic has taught us is that often, we are not in control of the external factors influencing our lives, and thus goals. Not being in control makes us feel anxious, often overwhelming us when we focus on the unpredictable. New Year’s resolutions can help ease this anxiety by focusing on individual factors, things within our control. Focus on the small ways you can control your routines and habits. Control your health by cooking healthier meals or committing to exercising everyday. Control your finances by setting a new savings goal, or rework your daily routine to more effectively control your time.
Planning and Progress: Although our New Year’s resolutions may be seem realistic and achievable, they are often difficult to fulfil without a plan. Set out a plan and the steps required to succeed in your resolution. For example, instead of stating that “I want to achieve better marks,” be specific in your goal setting and planning, “this year I am aiming for Distinctions in each course and will do this through changing my study routine, which will be achieved by doing ABC…” Breaking your resolutions into realistic steps helps setting a time frame for your goal as well as making it achievable. As Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” advises, “focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress.”
Utilising New Perspectives: The pandemic has altered perceptions of our time, how we use it and how we value it. As well as perhaps teaching us to value our time more, the pandemic has provided opportunities to develop a unique perspective of our personal habits and vulnerabilities. Understanding our habits and why we may struggle to adopt new ones can be extremely beneficial, and arguably necessary in navigating how to change them. Psychologist Katherine Arbuthnott discusses the benefits of identifying your weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the New Year, “These personal points of pain can give people some idea of what resolutions they might make.” For example, if during 2021 you’ve become increasingly stressed, perhaps make a resolution to seek out and implement strategies that help you destress.
What Do You Enjoy?: The lockdowns of 2021 gave us an opportunity to focus and discover hobbies and activities we enjoy. Although New Year’s resolutions often focus on self-improvement and ambitious goal-setting, aiming to spend more time on the things you appreciate can be equally as fulfilling, and have the potential to add great value and happiness to your 2022.
Feature Image: Sophie Jaggers, Yak Media Writer