Daniel Pedley BSc(Hons), HPD, Hyp.Dip, NLP Practitioner, MNCH(Reg.), MUKHC
Jan 8, 2023
5 min read
Defying The Doldrums
Updated: Jan 9, 2023
January, new years resolutions and how to tackle the new year head on.
Feeling the pressure for the new year? January got you down? Well, as it turns out, you are entirely unlikely to be alone. With the ever-evolving sphere of influence that social media has on our lives, we are seemingly surrounded by endless videos, posts and other forms of internet wisdom from people who seem faultless. That is, people who appear to have the natural ability to be able to achieve any goals they set for themselves, all whilst attempting to crack the same humourous quips that seem to simulate a broken record. This of course just amounts to even more unnecessary pressure and for many, so much as thinking about January and any resolutions one might have can seem like trying to decipher an ancient text in some long lost, dead language whilst caught in a cave full of hungry bears in the pitch black with no clothes on. Oh, and whilst you're on fire, too.
The point that I am trying to make is that often, people look at the oncoming new year, including resolutions and the now infamous 'Blue Monday' (the third Monday in January where the combination of poor weather, Christmas expenses and new year's resolutions not going to plan amount to large volumes of people booking more holidays for the upcoming year to overcome this) with worry and strife. However, there are ways of approaching January and embracing the new year which can set you up for a fantastic new year, and I have every intention of showing you how.
The January Blues
Do something that you love
Sometimes, the simplest suggestions can have the largest impacts. An ideal way of combatting the January blues is simply to partake in something that you really love or enjoy. This can be something you have more recently discovered, for example a hobby or something that you've wanted to really get into but have never got around to until now. Facing something new may be daunting, but even if it is something that is mostly unproductive, you're giving yourself that well-needed and well-earned 'me-time' that allows you to really engross yourself in something, with no more focus on any potential stressors. Alternatively, you could revisit something you haven't partaken in for a while. After all, the past isn't all bad and the nostalgia of returning to something that gives you joy can show you that it is possible to bring the fun of the past into the new year.
Do something that feels right for you
Need a break or time away from something? Listen to yourself and do what you feel is necessary to help ease that. Take some time to see that person you have missed, go on a walk (even in the rain if you're feeling waterproof) to reconnect with nature if it helps you feel most calm, or even just put yourself first at work or in a social situation that has been scraping away at your patience for a while, maybe even message someone who you haven't spoken to in a long time. As humans, we can all feel like a coiled spring and being able to find that thing that will help you feel less emotionally constipated, and executing it accordingly may just flush some of that additional January stress down the drain to the void from whence it came.
There may be a lot you can control, but it's vital to accept it won't be everything
Focus on what you can control
There is always the well-known and regarded motto which was actually a prayer adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous which asks "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Regardless of one's religious background, adopting this mindset is the key to being able to tackle the upcoming year. Finding a route to self-acceptance can be just as important as making changes, and by accepting things that you cannot change, you can really reduce your cognitive load and stress less, instead focusing on the things that you know you can change. This can be a valuable skill, and not everybody can do it alone. Hence, talk to people about what you want to achieve, have those discussions with people you care about and trust, or see a therapist or other professional to help you to understand this. Within hypnotherapy, there is a technique whereby we can use hypnosis to help you to dissociate and challenge another version of yourself to a discussion to really clear up goals and encourage self-awareness. This can have real utility in helping you to realise the things that you can't change, and help to clear up any confusion about what it is you may need from the upcoming year if there has previously been any internal conflicts in your life, helping you to set yourself up for a more successful, lower stress year.
New Year's Resolutions
Framing your goals
Try to frame your resolutions so that they are approach orientated, as opposed to avoidance orientated. Goals that are more focused upon achieving or reaching targets are more effective at helping you to be able to achieve them than if your goal is to avoid a certain thing entirely (E.G. "I am going to cut down on chocolate to have 3 squares per day, except if I'm sharing with someone or on a special occasion, and reduce that by 1 square every 2 weeks until I am only having it on special occasions" versus "I am going to stop eating chocolate from now") since they are significantly more successful after 1 year (Oscarsson, Carlbring, Andersson, & Rozental, 2020). A good gauge of whether or not a goal or resolution is approach orientated enough is by using the S.M.A.R.T goals system. That is goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based.
Goals and resolutions should be S.M.A.R.T
Getting some help
To further the aforementioned study, it also found that new year's resolutions were also far more likely to be stuck to if the individual had some form of support from others. This can range from friends or family helping you to track your goals, or to even simply providing verbal support and encouragement by pointing out how well you're doing. After all, if others notice you improving, it can be a gargantuan motivator. Alternatively, you could seek some support from a professional such as myself. By working together to help set S.M.A.R.T goals, arranging for consistent check-ins to help keep you accountable to your resolutions, and by using hypnosis or other therapeutic techniques to magnify or amplify the efficacy of your goals, getting help from a professional can not only give you the little push you might need, but really help you to take your motivation to the next level and help to find the best personal solutions to your new year's resolutions.
What are you waiting for? Book in to see me today, and following a consultation, regardless of your resolutions: Quitting smoking, losing weight, changing diets or feeling more confident as well as many, many more, there may be a way I can help you.
Oscarsson, M., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., & Rozental, A. (2020). A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals. PLOS ONE, 15(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0234097