It’s around this time of year that the “New Year, New You” push starts, and all the malarkey that it’s time for a “better” you is in every corner of your news feed. Honestly, it’s exhausting.
People have enough to be dealing with in this day and age, without the impression that they’re not already good enough. The constant pressure in the media to “eat this”, “wear that”, and “be positive” is enough to make anyone tired.
So this is why I suggest something different. I ask people to think about their New Year Mojo.
For me, your mojo is your energy, your motivation – and what gets your motor running.
So, think about your energy levels at the moment, and then take a look at the following questions:
- How is your energy at the moment, and where would you like it to be? This doesn’t necessarily mean physically, you might be emotionally, financially or spiritually tired.
- What do you need from next year, that’s going to increase or enhance – not drain – your energy? Are there agencies, charities or sources of support that can assist you? (You might find these useful links helpful).
- What behaviour are you prepared to accept from others going forward? It might be time to stop accepting someone’s verbal apologies, and only accept changed behaviour instead.
Think of it like intention-setting. These aren’t built in concrete like resolutions usually are, and they definitely don’t have to be focused on you being perfect. They’re more like aspirations involving small steps which are focused on improving or enhancing your energy.
You don’t need big steps; in fact, there’s a lot of evidence that the large goals we set for January just don’t work. So rather than thinking you may need to make huge sweeping changes in your life, start small.
Say for example, there’s someone or something in your life that zaps your energy, and leaves you feeling drained, but right now you have to spend time with them or doing that activity: it might be a colleague, or a workplace meeting for example. You could try:
- The night before, set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. If you wake up feeling refreshed, it doesn’t matter how annoying the experience is, you’ll feel more able to cope.
- Before you go in, try some mindfulness. Whether it’s sitting outside listening to the rain, singing your heart out to a favourite – and empowering – song, or taking a few long deep breaths, see if that helps.
- Notice your thoughts and any negative self-talk. If you are telling yourself it’s going to be awful, your brain will instinctively look for evidence that it will be. Instead of thinking “this will be a nightmare”, try a mantra like “It is what it is”. Drop some of the judgement around the experience and what you imagine it to be, and let the event unfold. Be sure to have some prepared assertive phrases planned just in case you need to make your point.
- Have a “rest” day. If you know you have to do something which mentally or physically drains you, it’s important to take time out to rest. If you can’t have the whole day off, make sure you do something afterwards that focuses on building back your energy. It might be a warm bath, reaching out to a friend, sitting quietly somewhere or just making a brew.
If you are starting to think about new year goals, then ditch SMART objectives, and try DREAMS instead – especially if you suffer with anxiety. SMART objectives can be useful for some, but they leave little room for movement. You might need to adjust your goal frequently, or change it completely it to get where you need to be. I explain more in this article.
There’s nothing wrong with setting resolutions if that’s what you want to do, but if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got. So if you want something different from the New Year, try something new. Start small, and most of all be gentle on yourself. You – and your year – don’t have to be perfect.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis