Here we are at the end of another year! 🥳 We’ve made it! Another lap around the sun. And we’re all a little older and wiser, for all the experiences we’ve had in the last 12 months – good AND bad.
With this year drawing to a close, conversation is inevitably going to turn to New Years resolutions. Now I’m very much in 2 minds about resolutions. On the one hand, making changes and looking to grow & become the best version of yourself can be a very good thing. Equally there can be a bit of a dark side, where we fixate on things we don’t like about ourselves, and set ourselves unrealistic expectations to become new people overnight.
So as we prepare to say “get outta here!” to 2021, and take a step into the brave new world of 2022, I just wanna share a few thoughts about New Years resolutions!
Straight off the bat – just because the calendar is ticking over doesn’t mean you have to make a change. If people around you are making resolutions, it doesn’t mean you have to as well. We’ve been through a lot in 2021. So actually just being kind to yourself over the holiday season is enough. If you want to use 01/01/22 as a fresh start for yourself, then great! But there’s nothing wrong with that fresh start being on any other day of the year. Resolve to make changes because you want to, and are ready to, not because you feel like you should.
One of the downsides to making any sort of change is that we often ask so much of ourselves. “I’m gonna run 5 miles a day from January 1st!” we promise ourselves. “I’m gonna stop drinking energy drinks and just drink herbal teas from now on!” we resolve. But often, setting a massive goal that’s nowhere near where you’re at right now is setting yourself up to not meet that goal.
If you’re on about running 5 miles a day, but you’ve never gone running before, you might be better off resolving to run 1 mile a day. Because if you’re making small changes, you’re more likely to stick to them. It’s gonna be better for you in the long run (pardon the pun) to clock a single mile every day, and stick to it consistently, than to try and reach 5 miles every day but burn out after the first week.
Or if you’re looking to stop drinking those energy drinks, perhaps it’s better to aim to have one less a week at first. And then two less a week from February, and so on.
If you’re making resolutions, make sure you give yourself a chance at meeting them. Start small and stay consistent, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.
Making a big change is a big deal! Particularly if we’re talking about changing habits, or behaviours that you’ve done for a long time. It kinda ties in to the idea above of taking things in small steps. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make a major change overnight. One study suggests that it takes 66 days to form a new habit. That’s like more than 2 months. So don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon and slip back into your old habits, or old ways of doing things. The truth is: lots of us do.
But what’s important is that you don’t give up. Pick yourself back up, and try again. A very old school HATW merch design was inspired by a Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times. Stand up eight“. Which rings very true when it comes to trying new things. No matter how many times you fall down, get back up one more time.
All of this obviously relates to the general resolutions that folks tend to make around New Years Day. But it also applies to your mental health, and particularly self-harm recovery.
Change can only happen when you’re ready to make it happen. And it’s gonna be way more effective if you decide you want to make a change, than if someone tells/forces you to.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to make a huge transformation or “get better” overnight. Because mental health recovery is an ongoing journey.
And relapses happen. It’s ok. It’s about dusting yourself off and trying again. You’re not a failure.
So from all of us at HATW, we hope that 2022 is a year where you’re kind to yourself, move at your own pace, and know that whatever you’re facing, you’re not alone.
We need your help to keep on creating content like this! The best way to support HATW is to pick up some of our merch with a message. It means we can keep being there for people who are struggling with their mental health. And it means you get some sweet new garments designed by incredible artists from round the globe.