The New Year: An Opportunity for You

by Rebecca Eliason, M.S.

The New Year seems to be an anxiety provoking time for many. After (hopefully) having some relaxing, enjoyable time with friends and family, a few days off from work and maybe even a party or two to closeout 2012, the New Year has the potential to begin on a hopeful and positive note. Strangers in the street greet one another wishing each other a happy new year and maybe even smile at you as small talk is made about the holidays. Sounds pretty good…

However, with all of the fun and excitement of the holidays and New Year, people often experience anxiety. While it may seem unlikely that this time of year brings on so much anxiety, it is the case for many. I have heard people dread the uncomfortable family reunions and gatherings of old “friends,” wondering how they’ll ever make small talk, not say something stupid and fear being judged by others. So many consider not attending social gatherings out of anxiety of what others may think. Maybe they won’t like your job or wonder why you didn’t bring a plus one to the event but so what?! Who cares what your former friend’s neighbor thinks of your job? Why should you let them make you feel uncomfortable? You think no one else at the party is uncomfortable?

Perhaps you’ve taken the time to reflect on 2012. Are you thinking about if you have achieved your goals or are you comparing yourself to friends? Did you achieve the goals you set yourself last year? How was your social life? Interested in meeting anyone new? How’s that gym membership you acquired last January doing? Maybe 2013 is the year to focus on you!

I’d like to suggest that if we spend the year focusing on ourselves and not comparing ourselves to others and worrying about what everyone thought of us, some of these anxieties could begin to dissipate in 2013.

Before I conclude, I am going to share some good tips for making New Year’s resolutions and how to stick to them:

1. Make it all about you and what you want to achieve to the exclusion of others
(ex: I want to run the NY Marathon in November as opposed to I want to run the marathon faster than Joe)

2. Don’t make it too hard- make a realistic goal you can achieve
(Ex: I am going to lose 2 pounds a month)

3. Make it measurable so you can clearly know when you have achieved your goal. Maybe consider using numbers to quantify your goal.
Ex: I will work out for 30 minutes 3 times a week

Ex: I will call my long lost aunt once a month

I wish you all a wonderful new year and I hope next year when you reflect on your goals you feel proud of your achievements.

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