Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.
First and foremost: Happy New Year!
I hope you were able to ring in 2014 in the manner you prefer. 🙂
Now let’s get into the business of making resolutions.
First of all, many of us overwhelm ourselves with big, scary, unattainable goals. Lose 100 pounds. Quit smoking. Etc.
They’re lofty and they’re too big to tackle realistically. Partially because you’ll feel like you’ve failed before you’ve even begun.
To take the stress out of planning goals for your year, I recommend breaking them down into smaller pieces.
For example, instead of, “lose 100 pounds,” aim for a series of smaller goals. Something like: “get to the gym three days a week in January.” Then make sure you create a non-food reward for yourself for when you’ve accomplished the goal – indulge in a night out at the movies, a new gadget, or even another physical activity you’ve wanted to try – bowling, wall-climbing, a swing dancing class, etc. The idea is that you want the goal to be very achievable and limited to a short period of time.
If your goal is to stop smoking, try reducing the number of cigarettes you allow yourself each day. Taper it, rather than go cold turkey.
If you want to meet the love of your life, start by breaking out of your routine and trying new things. Take a class, volunteer, or even create an online dating profile for the first time.
Come February, you should evaluate how your first set of goals have served you. If things went poorly – scale back a bit and make it more realistically attainable. If things went well – add or upgrade a little. Instead of “get to the gym three days a week,” make it “get to the gym for at least 45 minutes three days a week.” The more you’ve achieved, the more you’re allowed to add.
Keep at these progressive goals with regular check-ins and you’ll be much more likely to look back at 2014 and feel like you’ve really accomplished something great.
OR, if you find the idea of a to-do list for your year too stressful – throw it out. Seriously! Look inside yourself – does the idea of setting a specific goal cause you terrible stress? Don’t worry about it! Screw the resolutions and just live your life from moment to moment. It’s about finding and doing what works best for you personally. Don’t let any self-help guru make you feel like what you’re doing already isn’t enough.
Best of luck to you!
More from Overcoming Anxiety:
She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.
She is also allergic to felines.