If you are like me, you tend to set goals for the new year and within the first month, you’ve fallen off the wagon due to depression! It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some things you can do to safeguard your success in accomplishing those dreaded New Year’s resolutions:
1.) Stay consistent even when you don’t feel like it
I know it’s hard to do something consistently when you have depression, but this is key in accomplishing your goals. When you set up your goals, don’t make them too lofty or you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Make realistic goals, things that are doable. That way it will be easier to consistently do them. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and you have exercise goals, don’t set a high goal of doing cardio every day for thirty minutes. Instead, set the goal at three days a week. If you end up exercising every day that week, then great. But set the goal at the minimum that you think you will be able to accomplish.
2.) Don’t beat yourself up if you start to slip
So, you’re doing great with that exercise goal. You are even exercising every day. But then you start to slip and you have a week where you can barely get out of bed. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Have some compassion for yourself. After all, you experience mental health challenges which make it hard sometimes to do what you set out to do. Instead of getting down on yourself if you slack off, instead, give yourself a pep talk and get back on that horse!
3.) Remember that it’s progress and not perfection
Again, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do things perfectly. You are bound to have some setbacks. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you can’t accomplish what you set out to do. You can still succeed with your New Year’s goals. Just take it one day at a time and every day do your best even if your best isn’t as good as it was the day before.
4.) Celebrate the small wins
It’s easy to just focus on the big prize at the end of the race, but be sure to celebrate the small wins as well. For every day that you do get out of bed and show up for life, give yourself a pat on the back. For someone who struggles with depression, just getting out of bed and taking a shower can be a huge accomplishment. Tell yourself, “Good job!” when you are able to show up for your responsibilities that day, no matter how small they are.
5.) Stay focused on your goals
Don’t let life’s distractions get in the way of your goals. Keep reminding yourself why you chose that particular goal to begin with. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, put up a picture of yourself at your ideal weight. Or if you were never at an ideal weight, put up a picture of what you would like to look after you lose your weight. Or better yet, draw a picture of the “new you.” That way when you lose sight of why you chose that particular goal, you will remember why that resolution is so important to you.