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Time To Ditch The New Year’s Resolution

This informal CPD article Time To Ditch The New Year’s Resolution was provided by Lianne Weaver of Beam Development and Training, a provider of CPD accredited courses designed to help employers and employees take responsibility for their wellbeing.

As we head toward the start of a new year, tradition has it that we all reflect on the 12 months just gone, and set ourselves resolutions for the months to come.

That reflection and resolve to start anew is a lot more complicated this year. Covid-19 has brought so much change into all our lives, with a lot of what has happened to us individually this year totally beyond our control. What’s more, the rollercoaster is set to continue for some time yet.

So this seems a good time to ditch the New Year’s Resolution in favour of something far more realistic – and far kinder.

The problem with resolutions

Making a resolution sets the idea that from now on you need to be a better person than you were last year. This very concept has the power to make most of us feel inadequate and, in some way, ‘not enough’.

We start the year in January, a month of short days, with the festivities of Christmas behind us, and we pile added pressure on to ourselves with promises of gym visits, diets, career changes and so on. This year of course we can add to that list the unpredictability that the pandemic is bringing to all lives.

It’s little wonder that, according to a 2015 survey, more than 77% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within the first week of January. The trouble with the concept of “keeping” or “breaking” your resolution is that, once broken, you’re very likely to decide not to bother with it at all.

A far more realistic – and kinder – exercise to consider as we head towards a new year is to set yourself intentions. Rather than making us feel inadequate, intentions give us room to grow whilst still accepting that we are ok as we are.

If you set an intention and you do not achieve it every day, you have not failed or given up. You simply try again the next day.

Deciding on your intentions

An intention can be something such as deciding that in 2021 you will take better care of your health. This is much broader than a resolution, and it doesn’t set you up to fail with an all-or-nothing goal such as ‘I will go to the gym three times every week’. It’s more realistic as it will take account of the ebb and flow of life.

If you are wondering what intentions to set, how about deciding to focus on better mental health? Here are my top tips for ways to set good intentions around your mental health for 2021:

  • Self compassion – we know that when we are kind to others, we get the best out of them. You can also apply that rule to yourself. Speak more kindly to yourself, and allow yourself time to unwind.
  • Take a breath – if you are able to bring some mindfulness or meditation into your life you can train yourself to manage stress with your breath. If not, at least make time during the day to slow down and take some deep, slow, deliberate breaths.
  • Be grateful – studies find over and over again that people who practice gratitude are happier, healthier, have better social connections and are more resilient. Get a notebook and begin writing down three things you are specifically grateful for every single day.
  • Describe in 5 – If someone asked you to describe yourself in five adjectives, what would you pick? Choose five positive ones that you either want to be or that you are, then ensure that you use them whenever you talk about yourself. Try ones like courageous, strong, motivated, trustworthy and loving.
  • Notice the “Depleters” – how do the people around you make you feel? Do they nourish or deplete you? If you have people in your life who make you feel drained when you spend time with them, make a decision to either remove yourself from their company or, if you are unable to do that, limit your engagement with them. Most of all, focus upon spending more time with people who make you feel recharged and nourished.

There are many challenges outside of our control, but you can make 2021 the year that you decide to be nicer to yourself. Wishing you a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Beam Development and Training, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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