Why it’s OK to give yourself a break from New Year’s goals

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By Prudence Wade, PA

January 17 has a rather ominous name: Ditch Resolutions Day.

This is apparently the day we’re most likely to give up on our well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions. Maybe we pledged to exercise regularly or eat more leafy greens – regardless, there’s a high chance we might go back to our old ways.

There can be a lot of shame and guilt around giving up resolutions, after all, we make them to become the best versions of ourselves. However, if you are finding that gruelling exercise regime or restrictive diet just too hard to maintain, don’t beat yourself up for not sticking to it.

It’s already tough enough at the moment, so why make yourself feel worse? If you’re giving up on the pledges you made for 2021, here’s why that’s nothing to be ashamed of…

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the moment


Many of us are deep into a third lockdown, and in a couple of months, we’ll have endured a full year of Covid-related restrictions. This is a long time to feel stressed and isolated, and the relentless nature of the pandemic can really wear you down.

It’s already hard enough to keep your head above water, so why put extra pressure on yourself? If you’re finding it too tricky to stick to your resolutions, try not to berate yourself – instead, focus on the fact you’re surviving yet another lockdown. That’s certainly something to acknowledge.

Sometimes taking a break is the best thing to do


Now is a good opportunity to opt for some mindfulness. Listen to your body – what would serve you best? Some days, it might be doing a HIIT class and cooking yourself a healthy meal, but other times you’ll be craving Netflix and pizza. Both options have value if they can bring you a bit of mental positivity and peace.

And who knows – if you take a break from resolutions and indulge in some of the naughtier things you love, you might wake up the next day feeling refreshed and ready to attack anything life throws at you. That’s a much better approach than depriving yourself of the things that bring you joy, and potentially burning out by the end of January.

You probably over promised on your resolutions anyway


Let’s face it: most of us are way too ambitious with our New Year’s resolutions, making it almost impossible to actually stick to them for the whole year.

If you pledged to run 10km every day or to switch to a completely plastic-free life from January 1, you were basically setting yourself up for a fall. Instead of focusing on failure, why not flip the script and focus on the small wins along the way instead?

Maybe you’ve gone out for a run once or twice a week, or you’ve swapped plastic straws for bamboo alternatives – these are all positive steps in the right direction, and should be celebrated.

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