Don’t stress over resolutions

Anna, a marketeer and writer from Durham, now lives in Crookes and is enjoying exploring her new city.
Anna, a marketeer and writer from Durham, now lives in Crookes and is enjoying exploring her new city.
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Some people relish the opportunity to start the year with goals, refresh from the previous year and set out what they want to achieve in the coming year. Some people pooh pooh the idea, stating that a new year isn’t needed to evaluate your life and start afresh.

I’m usually on the strict resolution side but this year, my new year’s resolution is simply to ‘wear more jewellery’. Although a nice result of this will be sparkly adornments to my everyday outfit, there’s a deeper reason why I chose this resolution. It was to take some pressure off myself.

Last year I set myself three career-related goals that were ‘SMART’ i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed. Every expert goal setter would agree that this is the sensible way to go about your goal setting. Except last year I put myself under huge amounts of pressure to meet these goals, which meant that by December, I had a lot going on in my head: confusion over what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, disappointment that I’d put off that project yet again, and the notion that every hour in my day needed to be accountable.

Dramatic, I know, but this is how my mind works unless I calm it. The way to calm it? Just do nothing. Perhaps this will put off my decision making and my project will remain un-started. But unless I take that pressure off myself, I know I’m not going to be able to make rational, logical decisions that I’m happy with.

Life is too short to worry about unmade goals. Sometimes you don’t need to get specific things done in a certain timeframe. We just need to be happy with what we have achieved, however small.

One goal I set myself was to write the first draft of my novel by the end of the year – I probably have a chapter’s worth. Maybe I’ll come back to it when I’m retired. Because as much as I’m brimming with ideas, in my life right now I need to focus on my career and spend my free time recuperating and having fun. It wasn’t vitally important to have achieved that goal last year, yet it caused me stress that I was nowhere near achieving it.

If you have set new year’s resolutions this year, I hope you achieve them in some way, but please don’t make stress for yourself if you don’t.