January: Fab or Fad

When is the right time to set New Year’s Resolutions?

For some, January is a time of introspection and goal setting, but for many, it’s a time of let downs, hours spent in gyms, and trying endless new fads. Try that new diet everyone’s deifying. Learn that new skill that everyone seems to love. Train for a marathon. Put your phone down. The constant nagging to completely reinvent yourself is enough to make anyone anxious. 

How do you use the motivation and endless commotion around “a new year” to make a real positive change without feeling pressure to completely reinvent yourself?

Some believe that New Year’s Resolutions are a hoax, a way to set yourself up for disappointment. While it may be true that many resolutions often fall short, setting them has become a worldwide “tradition.” It can be encouraging to be surrounded by people who are also trying to learn from their mistakes, cultivate new habits, and strive for better versions of themselves.

This year, the January trend was vision boards, a collage of images and quotes put together to inspire and manifest the year to come. Whether you believe in manifestation or simply hard work, having your goals displayed in a visual manner can be helpful to achieving them. This is a notion that celebrities like Oprah and Reese Witherspoon have touted before but there is some research to back them up. Psychology today states that mental practices, like visualization, can increase motivation and confidence. Even without these psychological benefits though, vision boards are a fun, pressure-free project that allows you to focus on what you want for your year to come.  

However, as you may have noticed it is no longer January. Why talk about resolutions now? According to The New York Times, psychologists say now is the perfect time to reflect on what you want and how to get there. While February may feel like the time to give up, it’s actually the perfect time to reflect. Without the pressure of a new year, February gives you time to sit back and think about whether you’ve begun to achieve your goals or if you even set the right goals in the first place. Maybe you haven’t achieved your goal because it’s not something that’s actually important to you, it’s just something you thought you should do.  Or maybe it is important to you and you haven’t made as much progress as you hoped. Then, maybe it’s time to set more achievable and measurable goals. 

Go easy on yourself, it’s not possible to perform at 100% all the time. New Year’s resolutions are a flawed way to reach an admirable goal – becoming the best version of ourselves. So, instead of putting pressure on yourself to do a complete 360º all at once, maybe focus on what would really make you happier, step by step.

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