We’re supposed to make resolutions now? – Harvard Health Blog

After everything that happened in 2020, setting goals seems like a big demand. Resolutions are inherently discomfort and require resolution, and most of us are fed up with firsts and not very much with seconds. The answer to the annual tradition might involve a collective whine, a rolling of the eyes, and require censorship.

The question is: is it okay to take off this year?

“It’s always good,” says Dr. Inna Khazan, clinical psychologist and lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Why do we make resolutions?

Resolutions are useful in pushing us out of our comfort zones, but they are not necessary. Some people adhere to it and profit from it, but others have a different connection to resolutions: they make them without any intention of keeping them, and repeat this cycle year after year.

Khazan says the result can be almost like doing less than nothing. “It causes shame and guilt,” she says. “Not only are you not doing yourself any good, but you are also hurting yourself.”

There is no need for that. Resolutions should be based on two things: what you want to do and what you can make. You have to look at yourself, your schedule, your resources, and assess how full your plate is, and as Khazan says, for many people in 2020, “the plate is full.”

Not only that, but a person’s life can already include personal and professional losses, adds Dr. David H. Rosmarin, director of the spirituality and mental health program at McLean Hospital and assistant professor of psychology at Harvard. Medical School. Resolutions are simply not on the priority list.

But Rosmarin says that before you dismiss the idea entirely, think about some of the challenges that have occurred: Kobe Bryant dying in January, then COVID-19, homeschooling, racial unrest and protests, wildfires, ” murder of hornets, ”the election. It’s been a full year. “Consider how resilient we’ve been,” he says. It can change your state of mind and make it so that solving a resolution isn’t that heavy.

Or your conclusion could still be, “No, I have nothing.”

“It is very valid. It’s not healthy to push yourself too hard and you can take it off, ”he says.

But doing it also means not feeling guilty about what you should make. This is one of the perennial traps, because we hold ourselves to impossible standards and are our own worst critics, say Khazan and Rosmarin. One solution they come up with is to imagine a friend presenting the same scenario: feeling exhausted, needing a break, not wanting anything else to do right now.

Hearing these words, your reaction would likely be compassion and something like, “Sure, let it go. You deserve it. ”Then try to tell yourself. And repeat it if necessary.

A different take

But Rosmarin says if the resolutions are not binding, the answer may not be to ignore them altogether, but simply to change them. The first is to postpone all action until spring. “Give yourself a season to recover,” he said.

There is also a new perspective. The point of any resolution is to improve your life in one way or another, so here’s one: just be kinder to yourself. If you were able to let go of the guilt or shame of previous resolutions for the year, guess what? You have already succeeded. This is the resolution of non-resolution, says Khazan.

But Rosmarin suggests a few more ideas. Take vacation time, or just the occasional afternoon, to regain your energy and let something else enter your head rather than worrying. Write down one accomplishment per day to see more positives than negatives, or just enjoy a piece of food a day for fun.

These “resolutions” have advantages. They don’t take a lot of time. They do not require any equipment or subscription. They can always be done, regardless of stops or restrictions. And “you create a better relationship with yourself, which helps us connect with others and the world,” Rosmarin says.

And he has one more. When someone gives you a compliment or a gift, say “thank you” and that’s it. You don’t say “stop it” or “you shouldn’t have,” the natural inclination, which doesn’t recognize itself and rejects what the other person has just shared. “Saying ‘thank you’ means accepting that maybe, just maybe, you deserve the attention and the value,” he says. “Also, it creates more connection. What’s wrong with that? “

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Jothi Venkat

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