new years resolutions

One year ago, I couldn’t stand the “New year, New me” bullsh*t. Each week felt like a restart button due to my mental illness. Every Sunday night, I thought to myself, “Okay, tomorrow is a new week. Let’s do this.” And every Monday morning, I cried in bed, not being able to get up for my 10 am class.

For those living with mental health challenges who hate the idea of New Year’s resolutions, I get you.

The excitement associated with New Year’s resolutions are valid. Those emotions and feelings of inspiration are very real. But we have to remember that the calendar itself is a social construct. Setting goals on January 1st is just the same as doing it on July 30th or December 5th. And so, I think we could all use a little change in mindset about goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions.

  1. We can make change NOW. If you want to do something, do it now. What’s stopping you? Others’ expectations? Take those with a grain of salt; it’s YOUR life. Busy schedule? If it’s important enough, you can make time. Time is precious, and I feel like too many of us spend our lives waiting. Waiting for the weekend, waiting for that vacation, waiting for the new year. But time is priceless. Let’s stop waiting and start doing.
  2. Focus on growth and progress, not wins and losses. Categorizing things into wins and losses make me focus more on my losses than my wins. This way of thinking clearly doesn’t help me improve things. With progress, we also accept that it is not linear. There will be dips and plateaus, but as long as it’s an upward trend in the long run, you are succeeding.
  3. Big changes in results require big changes in action. Big changes in action require big changes in mindset. In the spring of 2016, I was sleeping 12 or 13 hours a night. And although I was determined each week to go to my morning class, I never managed to do it - because I didn’t change the action or my mindset. At the core of me, I defined myself as a mentally ill, failing student who couldn’t even take a single first-year arts course. Recently, I realized that I need to make drastic steps to make the drastic change. It’s January 2017 now, and I woke up at 5:30 am to get started on my work today. I implemented a morning routine and had reminders all over my bedroom that read “YOU ARE FULLY CAPABLE.”

I genuinely believe that many of you are trying your best. Thus, I empathize with your frustrations and doubts. But as Hal Elrod says, we must remember to believe that...

“I am doing the best that I can in this moment, and at the same time, I can and will do better.”