January is considered one of the most stressful months of the year for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that so many people are partaking in New Year’s resolutions.
There is no doubt that, if accomplished, resolutions to make a change in your diet, exercise, or personal finances can be beneficial to both your mental and physical health. But the excessive pressure you put on yourself to accomplish them is not healthy. All of a sudden your well-intentioned goals become a source of stress. Stress that prevents you from moving forward and achieving your goals.
Maybe your stress comes from repeatedly trying (and failing) to meet your resolutions. Or maybe it comes from not knowing how to work towards them. The following are some of the top New Year’s resolution stressors, plus tips on how to handle related stress and stick to your goals.
The most common New Year's resolution has to do with getting in shape, according to a YouGov survey.
If you're trying to hit the gym to improve your health, enlist a friend to exercise with you. Research shows that fitness technology can also help you stay on track. Having all your information in one place and readily available can help you be more aware and get closer to your fitness goals.
You know you should save. Sometimes this is easier said than done. But when you look around and it seems like no one else is doing it, you feel alone.
Furthermore, it can be stressful to try to find the money to save.
But budgeting for your future doesn’t have to be a stressful task.
You probably already know that stress affects your eating habits. It can cause you to overeat and undereat. Trying to eat healthily can also cause you to stress out. it's one of the main reasons why so few people are able to stick to this New Year's resolution. Here are some tips:
Turn your weight-loss resolutions into SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Here are some SMART weight loss goal ideas:
I will lose one pound each week until I reach XXX pounds in eight months.
I will lose six pounds a month until I reach XXX pounds in one year.
The early days of quitting smoking can be stressful. In addition to the nicotine withdrawal, which is felt in varying levels by different people, the stress of making this lifestyle change is felt almost universally, at least to some degree.
This is because many people who smoke use the habit as a primary coping device; when they feel stressed, they smoke to feel better. Therefore, when they can’t use smoking to cope with the stress of not smoking, it becomes an escalating spiral of stress. Therefore, it becomes even more important to have a few stress relievers on hand to cope with the stress of those early quitting days, when relapse is most likely.
On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good, so don't let a failed attempt discourage you.
There are so many resources to help you get a jumpstart on ditching tobacco.
Losing weight is a very popular New Year’s resolution, and it's usually a great idea for overall health as well as for the fun of fitting into better clothes. However, especially with certain types of diets, the first days of a new diet can bring frustration (from feeling "deprived" of favourite foods), moodiness (from biological changes in your body), and the loss of a coping mechanism (for emotional eaters who can no longer eat to deal with the stress).
It can be as stressful to be around a new dieter as it can be to be a new dieter, so stress management is key here as well.
No matter what the specific change you’re attempting, New Year’s resolutions can be stressful if tackled with the traditional method of setting a high goal and trying to attain it immediately. (For example, “From now on, I will exercise every day for one hour,” or “From now on, I will keep the house spotless.”)
This is because it’s difficult to make changes in habits, period. It’s even more difficult to make big changes with no mistakes, and resolutions worded in the aforementioned typical format allow no "wiggle room"—no space for setbacks.
When people fail once, they tend to give up. This makes keeping resolutions an exercise in perfectionism, which can be stressful for anyone. If you’d like to maintain resolutions with less stress, create a different format for your goals. Take baby steps, build in rewards for your progress, and make a few other minor changes and you will see greater success with less stress.