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De-stress your new year



The new year often brings a lot of hope, great ideas, resolutions and more plans that we need to fit into an already jam-packed schedule, and learning from the past, out of all the wonderful lists of stuff to do we had listed last year, only a fraction have become “something”.


Photographs: Pexels

Text: Alexandra Beck


We tend to want to do two hundred different things in the hope that maybe some of them will make us happier, healthier, fitter, more active, a better partner, better parent… just better… and then we get to the year-end, assess (or not) our current status and likely set the same goals and make the same to-do lists as previously.


This creates brain clutter. We are human and have limited focus abilities - and I don’t mean we cannot multi-task - this is different. We cannot and should not focus on changing two hundred things at once (or per year) but instead set singular, specific, measurable, and achievable objectives to make you feel successful.


1. PICK THREE

Specific goals, that is. Mine, for example, is to:

  1. Learn more about injury rehabilitation

  2. Improve my coaching in front of larger audiences

  3. Finally, book an appointment with a physio for my tennis elbow

They may seem frivolous to some, but they mean a lot to me because they are things I have been consistently pushing back because of the one hundred and ninety-seven other goals on my list.


2. MAKE A PLAN

On how to achieve them. In my case, I have:

  1. Downloaded four audiobooks, I have scheduled to listen to during walks with my dog. I will listen to nothing else during walks with my dog. Any other activity and my Spotify music lists are back on, but not while walking the dog.

  2. Booked an advanced training course to improve my group fitness skills. This will happen in March. It’s paid for, and I will attend it.

  3. This one is tricky because I kind of already know what I need to do and what they will tell me. But now that I’m saying it here, I have set a calendar reminder to call my insurance to get a referral, and I will get an appointment by the end of January.


This is a mere example - of course, everyone has different goals. But if you make concrete plans to achieve them, it will be more specific to reach a successful outcome!


"The idea is to not stress yourself out in the New Year because if your year starts with a bunch of stuff to do on top of all the other responsibilities, the likelihood of “giving up” will increase."


3. ASSESS MID-WAY AND PICK THREE MORE

As you can read above, the goals I have chosen are ones that I don’t want to drag out until next year, so I will assess it all in March/April, and if I have reached the first three, I will pick three new ones, in the same fashion.


The idea is to not stress yourself out in the New Year because if your year starts with a bunch of stuff to do on top of all the other responsibilities, the likelihood of “giving up” will increase. So, give yourself a chance to succeed in 2024. Take a step back and thirty minutes to jot down the top three goals you have for yourself and work from there. Three is a magic number. Although I’m not a fan of uneven numbers, in this case, it’s more than one and less than two hundred (I know, my math skills are incredible).


With all this said, you are doing great because you are doing your best. Don’t worry about the things you didn’t do; instead, find light in all the things you DID do. I’m sure you have succeeded in many things forgotten in the mass of “more” things to do. So here is my high five to you and the great year ahead!

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