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The burden of the New Year’s resolution – 4 tips if you are struggling

Maybe it’s not more willpower you need – it’s more insight

I got to 31st December and actually completed one of my New Year’s resolutions.

If I do anything at all (and complete respect to those who don’t or who follow a different calendar), I typically prefer to think of January intentions or re-connection with some aspect of myself that I have neglected.

But in January 2022, I wanted to work on something for the New Year that has been on my mind for some time, and that’s trees (and my carbon footprint). Through a combination of EcologiTreeapp, the garden and the allotment, I ended up planting 507 trees* in one year.

🌳 507 trees in one year

(Some nifty maths tells me that would offset about 50 flights from Manchester to New York).

I’m proud of myself.

The tree-planting new year resolution worked for me because it was an expression of one of my core values and was completely manageable over the year – I just had to bring mindful awareness to it on a regular basis.

But setting intentions or resolutions in January can also be an unhealthy burden. As Oliver Burkeman puts it:

“I’m fond of this part of January, a few days after the big calendar milestone, because it’s this point by which any unwisely perfectionistic resolutions have surely already failed”.

So if you have made a New Year’s resolution or set an intention and are now struggling, here are some tips:

You don’t have to do it

Imagine changing your mind right now

Your struggle is telling you something important about yourself. Maybe you set unrealistic expectations? Or there is some block you need to work through first? Perhaps the hoped-for change doesn’t actually mesh with the authentic you?

You are not something to be ‘fixed’. You’re great 🌟

So, what permission do you need to give yourself today?

This new year or later in the year – what would help you get to a place of really thriving in life?

I help people find clarity and calm, cope better with change and say no when they want to. Through therapy, I can help you get to know yourself better and support you in making meaningful changes in your life.

Image of Carina Badger MBACP, Counsellor and Therapist in Manchester, UK and online with text "If what you’re currently doing isn’t working for you, let’s find another way that does"​
Carina Badger MBACP, Counsellor and Therapist in Manchester, UK and online

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*Some of the things I helped get planted were actually mangroves