Wellness

Making Resolutions That Actually Stick (And Won’t Take Away From Your Quality of Life) | Wellness

I hope that everyone’s New Year went well and that you’re off to a strong start at making this year a memorable one. I, for one, have been in the mend from my recent back surgery, so while I haven’t been doing all that much in the way of my resolutions yet, I’ve really been enjoying just resting and spending time with my family before I inevitably have to go back to school.

I’ve really been enjoying seeing people getting a start on their goals for the new year, and seeing everyone’s excitement about bettering themselves.

To me, the only reason to have a resolution at all is to make your life better. And you would think that this would be an easy task, wouldn’t you? Well, my dear. You would be entirely wrong.

According to U.S News and World Report, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by mid-February for one reason or another.

So I, curious being that I am, wondered why exactly this was. I mean, one comes into the new year with the hope that their resolutions will help them to achieve whatever goal they have planned. So why is it so fucking difficult for us to follow through?

The New York Times says that the top reasons that resolutions fail are:

  • It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change.
  • It’s too vague.
  • You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

And honestly? In a trend that happens every single year without fail, hordes of people say “I’m going to lose weight”, “I’m going to drink more water”, or “I’m going to read more”. Which, to me seems awfully uncanny to the reasons for failure listed above.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that you can’t make resolutions like these. But when making resolutions, you have to do more than just throw around an abstract idea like “I’m going to save more money”.

One way to create goals, which a lot of people are taught as young as middle school, but seemingly forget, is the SMART method. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. I, for one, learned about this method when I was in the seventh or eighth grade, but it’s been really helpful as I’ve gone through life whenever I had to make a goal for something.

For instance, one of my resolutions for this year is regarding weight loss. To push off a second surgery for a few years, I need to get down to a healthy weight. In doing this, I’ve determined a specific goal for this year in the measurable weight that I want to lose. I’ve spoken to my doctor and done the research to know that it is attainable. Because my goal applies to something in my life, namely my back surgeries, I know that it is a relevant goal. And finally, I have an end goal in sight that is time-based (“I want to lose x amount of weight before summer vacation so that I hopefully can avoid another surgery on my back for the next few years.”)

Without making your goals realistic, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. And failure, in turn, takes a toll on one’s mental health and wellbeing. In an article published in Business Insider, we are told: “It’s easier to drop out or walk away when you set goals or resolutions that are vague.

But Hailey, how can I create a resolution that will help me have a greater quality of life, and contribute to my personal wellbeing?”

Well, my dears, I fear there isn’t a simple answer to this. What may count as a helpful resolution for you, may perpetuate a toxic mindset for another person. For instance, fixating on a specific number on the scale might hold you back more than it helps you. Or having too many goals might exhaust you.

To avoid this type of resolution burnout, I like to stick to a few guidelines when coming up with my own resolutions.

1. Stick to one or two big goals.

I always have a tendency to get a little bit carried away whenever I make my resolutions, but I try to narrow my goals down within the first few weeks of the new year so that I can continue to focus on what really matters. I find that the more I have on my plate regarding resolutions, the more overwhelmed I become. So having one or two or even three sizeable resolutions lets me focus far better than if I had seven or eight.

2. Plan it out.

Be detailed without being nitpicky! To refer back to my weight loss resolution; I know that I want to lose a certain amount of weight by June, but I don’t have it narrowed down to the exact ounce or even the exact pound. You want to have a detailed plan, but you don’t want to be super-acute with your goals. If you have a savings resolution, for instance, you may want to determine what you want to save for, as well as the amount. But don’t stress over an exact dollar amount. $500 rather than $514, understand?

3. Reward yourself for hitting milestones.

I cannot stress this one enough. Humans are motived by both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. And if the only reward is the reward of reaching your goal, then you’ll get discouraged along the way. Even if the rewards are small, a bit of encouragement goes a long way to your motivation.

4. Seek out an accountability partner.

Or an accountability group. Either works. Find someone who will call you out on your BS, and keep you on your game.

5. Track your progress.

Seeing your progress in a physical form, such as a journal or a spreadsheet can be incredibly encouraging. It might not seem like it, but when it comes down to it, you’ll have a log of the progress that you’ve made to look at whenever you start to feel discouraged and want to give up.

Above all else, I implore you not to give up on your resolutions. It may be hard, but perseverance is the absolute key to succeeding at your goals. A friend of mine mentioned something akin to “new year, new mindset”, and I think that’s something that we should all take into account when we work on ourselves this year.

It will be difficult, but I have no doubt that in continuing to press on, our journey towards wellness this year will be well worth the work.

So tell me, what are some of your resolutions this year? Did I miss any methods that might be used to effectively keep up with one’s goals? Thank you all for reading! 

xo hailey

Mental Health

Decluttering Your Headspace | Mental Health

Decluttering Your Headspace

It seems like everyone is doing some sort of decluttering nowadays. Whether it’s their room, closet, or car, everyone seems to be clearing out the mess and making space for new items. Now, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve had some issues with this.

I’m not gonna show you my room because that’s embarrassing, but trust me when I tell you that it’s a mess. I moved home from my university for the summer back in May and I’ve still yet to purge the items I don’t need anymore and get things generally tidied up. This is, I’ll admit, partially to do with laziness on my part (who wants to clean while they’re on break? Not me, when there is all this sleep to be had.)

But I’m gonna be honest with you: I’m beginning to dread going to my room at night. It’s definitely not the sanctuary space that it ought to be for me. Now, I’m not going to give you any spring (summer) cleaning tips today. Instead, I’m going to talk to you about something dear to my heart. Or, more specifically, my head.

My headspace is one of the biggest things that I try to be aware of. Whatever headspace that I’m in on any given day will often determine how my day will go. Positive headspace bringing joy into my day, and vice versa. Oftentimes I can go out into the day with a relatively positive headspace, or even just an average one and be completely fine.

But lately, this has been a problem.

For the past few months, I’ve been recovering from the sudden loss of a very dear family member, my grandmother, who played an integral part in raising me. This alone would normally be enough to send someone into a depression, but about a month later I split up with my long-time boyfriend. These, among other things, just piled up. One after the other until I felt like I was suffocating in negativity. These weren’t things that I could have helped. No matter what choices I could have made to impact my life positively, the negativity that just seemed to pour in from every facet of my life would have ended up bringing me down, one way or another.

Because I’ve been so plagued by negativity, not only has my headspace suffered, but so many other aspects of my life have been tainted as well. This includes my motivation (hence the aforementioned laziness being the reason that my cluttered room remains untouched).

Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.

The dictionary definition of “declutter” is this:

de·clut·ter
/ˈdēklətər/
verb
1 . to remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)

I’ve been on a journey, over the last few months, to better myself. I’ve done therapy, tried different self-care methods, kept a journal, tracked my moods, basically tried anything that I could to make myself a lasting, positive headspace. All of these things worked to some degree, but not to the extent that I’ve needed.

So when all of these posts popped up in my feed about decluttering, something inside of me clicked. What if I could declutter my headspace?

And so I began thinking of ways in which I could do that. I made a list in my phone of different ways that I could theoretically “declutter” my mind. I’m not talking about things such as folding some laundry or dusting. I’m talking about hardcore trash removal. We’re cleaning out the dirty stuff, the stuff you don’t even want to touch because it’s so nasty. All of it.

Let me be upfront with you: this is going to be hard. It might be one of the hardest things that you’ve ever done (it certainly has been for me), but I can promise you that the sense of catharsis that you will start to feel after a little while is unimaginable.

None of these are easy, but here are some ways that I’ve managed to “declutter” my mind, and free up some mental space.

1. Surround yourself with positivity

This is a hard one, not gonna lie. Life has a way of throwing shit at you in times that you just really don’t need it. And so sometimes it’s really hard to seek out the positive aspects of life. Social media, especially, is a place where I struggle to find positivity. In a world where so many people have such interesting, glamorous online lives, it’s hard to remember that they’re humans too. They’ve just figured out their best angles. Try to find things that make you joyful, even on social media.

2. Cut out the negative

This is by far the hardest one for me.  The other night, for example, I asked my good friend to take me off of his private Snapchat story, where he talks when he has bad days mentally. Now, not to sound harsh, but it was just more than I could handle. My mental state is fragile because I am working on making it better. And so hearing him talk about his self-destructive thoughts, without any warning, really brought up some negative emotions within me. Whatever is plaguing you might be a family member, or a friend, or something seemingly insignificant like a comment or your social media. Don’t associate with people who don’t appreciate your value. And don’t put things that don’t matter before your own mental health. I mean, hey. Why do you think I took such an extended hiatus from blogging?

3. Write stuff down

You don’t need to keep every to-do list continually active in your mind. Write down things that you need to remember. I personally use a mixture of Google calendar and my phone’s note-taking app, and that helps me to remember things that I need to do.

4. Declutter your space

I know I was just saying that it’s hard for me to clean up my physical belongings when my brain is a mess, but I won’t deny that having a dirty space is absolutely exhausting. By having a clean environment, you’re not expelling so much mental energy on things that don’t matter.

5. Meditate

Mindfulness is perhaps one of the most useful skills I learned during my college PE class. We did a unit on how mindfulness affects people’s overall wellbeing, and how one of the main ways to increase your mindfulness is through meditation. I really love finding guided meditations on Youtube or Spotify that will help with specific issues that I may be having.

I hope that some of these ideas work for you! Decluttering is such a positive thing to do, and so many people are taking part in it for various reasons (thank you, Marie Kondo), and it’s just so healthy. So I hope that if you’re like me, and struggle with decluttering things on the outside, then maybe you’ll take the chance to try and declutter things on the inside.

xo hailey