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This time of the year, every year, the internet loves to debate about whether New Year’s resolutions are worthwhile. For those who suffer from anxiety, New Year’s resolutions can not only be difficult to accomplish, but they are also notorious for inducing further anxiety. So, instead of mulling over whether you should even be setting resolutions this year, try looking at it from a different perspective. Below are 6 great anxiety-busting New Year’s resolutions as well as some helpful tips for how to set them.

How does anxiety influence the resolutions you set?

When you set resolutions based on other people’s expectations or resolutions, anxiety is usually at the wheel, even if you don’t realise it. When you anxiously set resolutions for self-improvement, you may find that you:

  • Overestimate what you can achieve
  • Borrow goals from others or do ‘what is expected’ rather than what you really want
  • Narrow your definition of success
  • Go hard at first, only to fizzle out quickly
  • Focus more on ‘quick fixes’ rather than long-term success

Tips for anxiety-busting New Year’s resolutions

  • Set resolutions that make you EXCITED and HOPEFUL, not stressed. What are you excited about this year? What would make you feel good?
  • Make sure they’re achievable, and don’t overestimate how much you can get done. Sure, you COULD try to save 20% of your income for savings, but would that make you incredibly stressed, or mean that you feel like a failure on the months when you can’t achieve that? Instead, try aiming for making SOME savings every month, or book in with a financial advisor – many banks have free financial advice services for their customers.
  • Prioritise your mental health. Imagine how different your year could be in 2022 if your mental health was your priority!
  • Make a plan, not just a resolution.  In other words, don’t just identify the desired outcome, but develop a realistic action plan to make it happen.
  • Think about your motivations – why are you setting these resolutions?
  • Shorten your list and keep it simple.

6 Anxiety-Busting New Year’s Resolutions

1. Something that makes you excited and hopeful

Want to read more this year? Choose books that are life-affirming, or educate you on something you’re interested in, or simply make you feel good. If not reading, what are you excited about? Is it starting a new hobby, learning to surf, learning a new language, or managing your anxiety better? Whatever it is, focus on how GOOD it is going to make you feel, rather than making your resolution feel like an obligation you need to achieve just to prove something.

2. Spend less time on your phone

If there’s one thing that you can do this year to make you feel less anxious, it’s to spend less time on your phone. That means less social media scrolling, less comparing yourself to others, less reading or watching stressful news stories, and less paying attention to often hurtful comments or opinions online. So, set yourself a goal to put your phone down and spend your energy on things that make you feel good, such as getting outside more often, reading great books, spending time journaling, enjoying time with friends and family, cooking yummy meals, or exercising in fun ways.

3. Re-organise your social media feeds

For 2022, make it a resolution to follow only people and accounts that make you feel good and inspire you – not ones that give you FOMO, or make you feel less-than. That means doing a clear-out of accounts you follow and seeking out better influences. You can start by following us on Facebook for regular updates and tips of self-care, managing your mental health, and more.

4. Move your body for the pure joy of it

Exercise shouldn’t be about punishing yourself. It should be about celebrating all that your body can do. Movement and exercise don’t have to mean going to the gym or taking a class, especially if those things tend to trigger your anxiety. What kind of movement makes you feel great? Is it dancing in your living room to your favourite songs? Maybe it’s taking the dog for a walk in the park, or jogging on the beach? Maybe it’s hiking in the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland? Maybe it’s doing some yoga from home, or seeing a private personal trainer for one-on-one sessions?

5. Set complimentary expectations

Experts say that resolutions tend to work better when they are closely related. So, when you accomplish one of them, you’re more likely to be motivated to complete the other. This is especially true for eating and exercise, for example. If you want to start a new hobby this year as well as get in shape, perhaps set a resolution to try a new recipe each week as well as a new exercise that you enjoy. The same goes for getting more sleep. If you’re exercising and eating well, and feeling better for both, then getting more sleep comes much more easily. Sleep, exercise, and eating well are all keys to managing and reducing anxiety!

6. Set a routine, no matter how simple

For those who experience anxiety, nothing is more triggering than disruption and feeling out of control. That’s why something as simple as a New Year’s resolution for setting a new routine can be so powerful. It should include things relevant to you personally, but generally include things like:   

  • Going to bed at the same time each night.
  • Getting up with enough time to relax and ease into the day.
  • Eat healthy breakfast that will fuel your day.
  • Taking regular breaks (especially if working from home).
  • Wind down at the end of the day with something like taking a shower, doing some meditation, reading a book, going for a walk, or chatting with a friend over the phone.
  • Make time for cooking and/or preparing meals in advance (which can be a great anxiety buster, knowing that even when you’re overwhelmed or anxious, your healthy meals are taken care of).
  • Make (and keep) regular appointments with your counsellor or psychologist. Not only are they incredibly important for helping you to understand and better manage your anxiety, they are also an excellent resource for helping you to plan for achieving your resolutions, keeping you on track, and having your back when you struggle with them.

If you’re ready for 2022 to be your greatest year yet, and the year you say goodbye to the hold anxiety has had over your life, get in touch. Or, find out more about our Personal Accelerator Programs, tailored to your individual needs and designed to help you achieve your ambitions for the coming year.

For more tips on great New Year’s resolutions, see our other blog articles about the topic here.

Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen