New year is the time for a new you. Or is it? We mean, don’t all January resolutions end with December disappointments? While these weight loss/hard work/career/become successful resolutions seem promising at the start of the year–not being able to achieve these goals by the end of the year can be rather disheartening. In fact, for many people they can also be anxiety inducing.
The result? Another year of newer resolutions with higher expectations from yourself!
Thus, the vicious cycle of making and breaking resolution begins. We call it “vicious” because you might not realise it, but your unrealistic New Year’s resolutions can be quite toxic for your mental health. Here’s why:
1. The false hope could be your gateway to a low self-esteem
“Sometimes, people make lofty resolutions leading them to bite off more than they can chew,” points out Sneha George, a counselling psychologist at Fortis Malar Hospital in Chennai.
She further explains how this can be the start of what psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues at the University of Toronto identified as the “false hope syndrome”. In a prominent research paper they explained that making positive affirmations about yourself, that you don’t really believe, can damage your self-esteem. Why, you ask? Because often you’re unable to meet your own set of super-high expectations.
2. You develop a not-so-pleasant self-image
Remember how in Housefull, Akshay Kumar thinks of himself as the undisputed king of losers after everything he does turns into a failure? Well, setting unrealistic New Year’s resolutions can pretty much have the same impact on you according to Kavita Yadav, founder and director of JiNa-LivingPositively, a Gurugram-based counselling centre.
“The person may label him/herself as a ‘loser’ or ‘non-achiever’ and start slipping into a depressive state when s/he is unable to fulfil his/her new-year goals,” she explains.
3. You can get “addicted to depression”
“Addiction to depression is a serious problem for many and it’s not even recognized. You can be addicted to activities and behaviours, in this case, you could be addicted to failure and the consequential depression,” says George.
“If, for example, you set goals for yourself and continue to fail time and time again, you could easily fall into depression. Over time, with this cycle of failures and the associated depression, you could come to regard this feeling as a norm and begin to say things like, ‘Oh! I never win anything’ or ‘My plans never work out’,” she further explains.
So, stop making resolutions! Instead…
Live and work in the present moment, instead of waiting for the new year. Yadav also suggests that you make SMART goals–specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound.
“Start with small, but consistent actions, and steps as per the set goals. Also, review your plan of action regularly and fix the loopholes,” she suggests.
In the end, remember: do not compare yourself with others and reward yourself for your achievements. Never forget that you are unique in your own ways. And have a happy New Year!
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