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6 Guilt-Free Steps To Review Your New Year Resolutions

6 Guilt-Free Steps To Review Your New Year Resolutions
New Year Resolutions

    (Photo by brungrrl)

    The end of the year is always a good time for me to review my resolutions and take stock of what I have done over the past year.

    However, for some people, reviewing New Year resolutions can be a painful affair. Some of you may have goals unaccomplished. A resolution review is just a stark reminder of how little you have achieved. You may feel guilty and disappointed about your lack of discipline to follow through on your goals. As much as possible, you will want to avoid being reminded of these little failings.

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    From this perspective, I can certainly empathize with how painful this exercise can be. I can also understand why some people think that setting New Year resolutions is just a crap idea; it’s simply setting yourself up for lots of disappointment later on.

    I believe in setting New Year resolutions, though, and I have being doing this for the past 6 years. This yearly exercise has contributed much to improving my life; it gives me a sense of direction as I go about my daily activities. Before this, my life without goals was like sailing without a destination – you leave it to the wind to bring you to wherever you end up at. We only live once, and I don’t like to leave the outcomes of my life to chance.

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    Having said that, most of the time, I don’t achieve all my goals. I do achieve a good portion of my goals but there are always some I don’t achieve. I feel that there is nothing wrong with missing out on your resolutions and it is simply a matter of perspective. Today I like to offer some tips to help you review your New Year Resolutions guilt-free:

    1. Stop Beating Yourself Up! Most personal development literature tells us to set goals and go out there to achieve it. None tells us to set goals, leave it there and forget it. As such, the mentality of people setting goals is that we must achieve the goals or we would have failed. When we don’t achieve our goals, the resulting emotions are guilt, disappointment and a sense of failure. As such, it’s natural for resolution reviews to turn into a stressful affair. With such a perspective, I cannot imagine what else it can be. My advice – stop beating yourself up! I guess this has much to do with the inculcation of our education system – you either pass or you fail. No, resolution review doesn’t have to be this way. There are many reasons why you don’t achieve your goals, and not all of them are due to your personal failure. Let’s take a look at some of them next.
    2. Don’t Make Too Many Big Resolutions In this world filled with options, it’s easy for us to get distracted. You may have set too many resolutions at the spur of the moment and ended up with a long laundry list for the year. With so many goals to achieve, how much time and attention can you realistically commit to each? If you stretch yourself too thin, then you’ll only stress yourself out and disappoint yourself more when you have worked so hard and achieved so little. I believe it’s realistic to have only two to three major resolutions and less than ten minor ones for the entire year. A major resolution is any project that may take months of effort to complete. As such, by doing two to three, you’ve already taken up a good portion of the year.
    3. Do You REALLY Want That Resolution? The next question to ask yourself is if you really want to achieve that resolution. What will achieving that resolution mean to you? How will that make you feel? Successful people are successful because they focus on a small number of important goals at a time and worked really hard at it until they achieve the results that they want. If they are easily distracted by the next big-hit sensational opportunity or passing fad, then they wouldn’t have achieved the same level of success.
    4. Wrong Place, Wrong Time. OK, what if you have been focused and yet you’re still not achieving your goals? Look at the circumstances you’re in. Other than hard work, external elements also play a part to your success. If you are operating in an environment which is not in favor of your resolutions, then you’ll have a lesser chance of achieving it. Simply said, you are at the wrong place and the wrong time if you can’t answer “yes” to at least one, and preferably all, of these questions:
      1. Do you have a support group to discuss ideas and which provides morale support?
      2. Do you have access to the relevant knowledge, skills, experiences to achieve your resolutions?
      3. Are people around you in favor of your resolution – in opinion and in actions?
    5. Connect The Dots. Don’t view resolution review as a test where you either pass or fail. Personally, I use the resolution review as a self-discovery exercise to know myself better. As highlighted in earlier points, there are many reasons why you don’t achieve your resolutions and not all of them are about your failings as an individual. For those goals that you achieve, how did you manage to achieve them? Likewise, ask the same questions for those you didn’t achieve. Over time, you can see a trend in the things that you achieve, and the things that you always seem to miss. Perhaps, it’s simply not important enough, or you’re not in an environment conducive to this goal or it is simply not leveraging your strengths.

      Reviewing your resolutions allows you to connect the dots, which in turn, allows you to look forward with more self-knowledge and confidence.

    6. Drop Irrelevant Goals. Once you are able to connect the dots, you will start to see that some goals are just not meant to be. It’s not because you are not disciplined enough to follow through or that you are a failure; it’s just not meant to be. If you are not as smart as Einstein or as techno-savvy as Steve Jobs, you don’t have to feel bad about it, you are here for a different reason. There is certainly something else greater which is meant for you. By dropping unsuitable and irrelevant goals, you can focus on the more important ones relevant to you. So feel free to drop resolutions if they’re not suitable – guilt-free and honestly.

    View Your Resolutions in a New Light

    Learning how to view resolution review in a new light is fundamental to making this a consistent habit.

    I’m not saying that it’s ok to give up on your goals easily and find excuses to let yourself off the hook. I’m just saying that we have to be smarter about reviewing our resolutions – and sometimes this means going easy on yourself and reviewing the circumstances in its entirety, not just at your own failings.

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    When you step back and widen your perspective, you will be able to make a better judgment if the goal is worth pursuing in the first place. If it isn’t, drop it without guilt and move on to something else. If it is important, ask yourself why you aren’t achieving it and how you can do better in the New Year. Beating yourself up just ain’t going to get you anywhere!

    I wish you happy holidays and have a happy review!

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    More by this author

    Lawrence Cheok

    Lawrence writes about living a balance life and provide tips for improving your career.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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