New Year, But Is It A New You: Setting Sustainable New Year’s Goals and Intentions

Source: Photo by Alex Alvarez on Unsplash

“New year, new me” is a popular phrase we hear this time of year, but what was wrong with the old you? While there’s nothing wrong with some healthy reflection and intention setting, it’s important to still accept who you are in this moment. While it may feel counterintuitive, we can find acceptance and change together if we remember that we are both doing our best and on our path to growth are capable of doing even better.

When reflecting on where you are now, think not only about areas for growth but also areas that are going well for you. Many times, we can be our own worst critics. Try to remember to keep this process positive. Ask yourself: What has helped me do well in certain areas and what can I do to maintain that going forward? This helps ensure you don’t let positive parts of yourself get left behind while setting new intentions. For those areas where you feel growth is desired, notice if thoughts of self-judgment arise. Sometimes it can be helpful to take a moment to ask yourself: If I was talking to a loved one, would I speak to them this way? More times than not, the answer is no. So why speak to yourself this way? Take a moment to jot down your self-judgmental thought and then underneath it, see if you can reframe it and write down a more loving and compassionate version that you would say to a loved one. Remember, you deserve the same love and compassion that you show others.

The meaning behind our intentions is also important to reflect on, as these can inherently hold self-judgment even if directly judgmental thoughts aren’t bubbling up to the surface. For instance, toxic diet culture is all too pervasive especially in the new year. If you find yourself setting fitness or nutrition goals, take a moment to ask yourself what is the meaning behind those goals? If you find yourself shifting into thought patterns that include self-judgment, this may be a sign that your intentions and goals are coming from a place of self-judgment rather than healthy growth. This doesn’t mean that fitness or nutrition goals have to be a bad thing. Knowing your relationship with your goals is the first step in making them more positive. See if you can establish a healthier relationship with certain topics like fitness and nutrition by creating meaning and intentionality around using them as tools to foster better physical and mental health. It may be the same goal, but now it has an incredibly different meaning.

Aside from new goals, we may also find ourselves reinvigorated in progressing towards a continued goal in the new year. Feelings of hope around this “fresh start” of sorts can create a positive shift. At the same time, it may cause you to experience the opposite and feel discouraged with the passing of another year. No matter where you land on this spectrum, give yourself grace and compassion as well as space for flexibility upon reflection. Inquire within to see what function or purpose this goal is fulfilling for you, and question if there are other avenues in life that achieve a similar purpose. Flexibility often facilitates finding joy and meaning in life. When we get too bogged down by a goal from our past, we might forget to see how it is no longer serving us in our present.

Therapy can be a wonderful tool in reflecting on areas for growth and creating healthy relationships with various parts of life. Wildflower therapists are ready to help you on the path to positive change. Contact our intake team here for more information.