Ah, the dawn of a new year – the time when gyms overflow, kale sales skyrocket, and everyone swears off sugar like it’s the plague. But let’s be real, most New Year’s resolutions have a lifespan shorter than a snowflake in July. In fact, The Ohio State University found that 43% of us will give up on our resolutions by the end of January! Let’s cut through the bullsh*t and offer practical strategies to break the cycle and make resolutions that actually stick.
- The Pitfalls of Perfect:
One of the major traps people fall into is setting resolutions that are so darn perfect they might as well be carved onto stone tablets. The problem? Life is messy, unpredictable, and filled with unexpected curveballs. People with and without OCD often fall into the trap of perfectionism (check out this article about how these two things are actually different but related!); it’s time to embrace the beautifully imperfect nature of life. Like our Clinical Director Adina says, “Perfect is boring!” Instead of aiming for flawlessness, set realistic and flexible goals that can adapt to life’s chaotic charm.
- Ditch the All-or-Nothing Mentality:
In the world of OCD and anxiety, the all-or-nothing mentality is a familiar foe. It’s the belief that if you can’t do something perfectly, then it’s not worth doing at all. This mindset is a resolution wrecking ball. Instead of viewing resolutions as strict, binary commitments, try adopting a more flexible mindset. Be a palm tree! Bend when the hurricane arrives. Progress, no matter how small, is still progress. If your resolution is to exercise more, don’t throw in the towel if you miss a day. Celebrate the days you succeed and learn from the days you falter.
- Mindfulness in the Madness:
Mindfulness isn’t just a trendy buzzword; it’s a game-changer when it comes to making lasting changes. OCD and anxiety often involves getting caught up in intrusive thoughts and worries. Mindfulness can help break this cycle by bringing attention to the present moment, and noticing that all thinking is an ongoing flow of content. Thinking is a process that you can witness, just like a baseball game. When setting resolutions, pair them with mindfulness practices. Whether it’s savoring the taste of a healthy meal or noticing the booty burn of lunges during a workout, incorporating mindfulness can turn resolutions into meaningful and curious experiences rather than daunting tasks.
- Celebrate Progress, Not Just Results:
It’s easy to get fixated on the end goal and forget about the journey. As humans we often struggle with this, as our minds tend to gravitate toward the endgame. But on a real note, the end is death! To overcome the resolution blues, make sure to celebrate the process and progress you make along the way. If your resolution is to read more books and you manage to finish one chapter, pat yourself on the back. Small victories add up, just like moments turn into an entire lifetime. Celebrating these small things (which aren’t actually small!) creates a positive momentum that can carry you through the entire year.
As we venture into the new year, let’s ditch the bullsh*t resolutions that set us up for failure. Instead, let’s embrace imperfection, banish the all-or-nothing mentality, weave mindfulness into our daily lives, and celebrate every step forward. At the West Coast Anxiety Clinic, we understand the challenges, and we’re here to support you in creating resolutions that align with your values and lead to meaningful, lasting change.