I should really go to the gym this year…”
“I need to catch up with a friend once a week…”
“I need to be more organised at work….”
At the start of the year, over 80% of Australians create New Year’s resolutions & personal goals for the year ahead. Yet, ABC reports ‘more than half’ of New Year’s resolutions ultimately fail. Why does this happen? And more interestingly, why do we return to them every year? What can we do differently to maximise this sense of renewed focus and energy to ‘achieve’?
January is often a time people try and reinvent themselves, an opportunity to reflect on the year that has been. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with a new year’s resolution, however the ‘absolutism’ of goal setting, which is often too unrealistic & strict, fuels pressure to succeed.
Many Australians struggle to persevere with their goals and achieve meaningful change. Performance Psychologist Dr Jo Lukins spoke to the ABC about how people often don’t create a plan or realistic steps to achieve these goals, noting people often feel a sense of a ‘social obligation’ to create New Year’s resolutions, and that there is little meaningful intention behind executing these goals, for example, ‘I really ought to do this…’
#2023trends are currently changing the discourse around these existing new year pressures. The ‘Ins & Outs’ social media trend aims to reframe goal setting. These are lists compiled by creators highlighting interests, activities & materials people want more of in 2023 and what people are ready to ‘throw out’ for the year ahead. At its simplest level, it’s a list of what you want ‘In’ for the year as well as what you want ‘Out.’
Ph. D Psychologist & author of The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, Rheeda Walker spoke to ESSENCE, around the importance of ‘removing activities and aspects of thinking that no longer serve (you)’ and highlights the importance of engaging more in what fulfils you. This trend helps us absorb aspirations in a different way, as Walker highlights ‘we absorb information differently’ when it is written down.
Intention setting is another social trend on the rise. Psychologist for online wellbeing service PlushCare, Jenny Koning, suggests shifting your mindset from resolution to setting intentions, provides a more positive approach which is more likely create a ‘lasting change’ despite the time of the year. Resolutions are seen to be more specific & measurable and are often behaviours that can be judged as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Whereas intentions are more broad, more qualitative, and often embody a quality rather than a measurable outcome. For example, ‘to listen and honour the needs of your body.’
So, in this new year, be kinder to yourself – and here are some tips on ways to make more achievable, realistic personal goals:
Tips for 2023 personal goals:
- Break goals down into smaller actions which can be implemented daily or weekly BEFORE you go for the goal
- Set up boundaries / support to help you foster your goal – e.g., talking to loved ones about it to increase accountability
- Be kind to yourself if you slip back!