It's almost New Year resolution time again. Various research shows that by February, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned. Do you even remember yours from last year?
1. Do you need to make resolutions?
This year has had stresses in various forms, so do we really need to give ourselves more challenges then feel guilty for not achieving? Instead of a resolution, how about giving ourselves more time to do something we love?
"In 2021 I will make time for ( insert activity you love ) on a daily/ weekly / monthly basis because I want to!"
This could be:
Listening to music I enjoy
Reading a good book
Watching telly or Netflix without feeling guilty
Having a bubble bath
Visiting places I want to see (locally for now)
Playing an instrument
Experimenting with new recipes
Lying in when I can
Exploring career options
2. If you do want a challenging resolution, then focus on habit change
Research shows one of the reasons why resolutions fail is because changing a long-lasting habit is quite difficult and what is required is the formation of a new, more desirable habit. Habit change takes time, effort and, most importantly, discipline. Some ways we can improve our discipline are reminding ourselves of the bigger picture. Visualise the goal you want to achieve every day, write it down and journal your progress. Meditation has been shown to improve self- discipline so spending just a minute on this may help with your goals.
3. Take action
All the thinking and talking about new resolutions won't change a dot if the action is not there. So no matter how small, do something that is conducive to your end goal. For example, if you want to get fitter and exercise more, then commit to doing a short walk on days when you can't get yourself to do the workout you had planned.
So, focus on small consistent actions lead to more progress, rather than a big drastic change.
4. Be kind to you
For medical professionals the pandemic is always close to home. GP's are now busy with vaccination programmes and the logistics of managing 'hot' clinics whilst running the usual busy surgeries. Hospital colleagues may have changed work patterns if they are covering COVID wards. This is on top of managing illness or the effects of restrictions within our own families, such as, vulnerable elderly relatives, children who are isolating or if we live alone, being isolated ourselves. Even if your circumstances are relatively ok, the stress and uncertainty of the Pandemic will impact us all which could result in our motivation and drive being affected.
So most of all, be kind to yourself, and no beating your self up about not achieving X, Y or Z this year!
Could it be that on 1st Jan 2021 you just need to sit back and actually congratulate yourself on what you are already achieving? Maybe you are a good listener, a good friend to someone or maybe you have dodged a lot of curveballs in 2020 and still come out smiling! In 2020 there have been positives too. We have pulled together more as a community, looked out for our neighbours and appreciated the small things more, such as going for a walk or enjoying being at home.
Cheers and Happy New Year from Team Inspired Medics!