For much of the world, the start of the new year is a chance to reflect, reinvent, and reinvigorate ourselves. It’s an opportunity to set goals for self-improvement, connection, and achievement, but this can also induce a lot of anxiety by creating high expectations that may be difficult to meet.
In order to make the most out of this process, the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has a few recommendations.
First, make sure you set the right type of goals. Choose goals that make you feel like you’re flourishing when you’re pursuing them. Engage with goals that create positive emotions, make you feel engaged, support healthy connections, create meaning, and lead to a sense of accomplishment.
Second, set yourself up for success. Break your end game up into long-term goals, and break those down again into short-term goals. Then turn those into baby steps. Set up your environment to make your goal easier to achieve, and create habits out of your goals so that it becomes a part of your identity.
Lastly, learn to recognize when you’re feeling burned out or over it. Although you may have an admirable ambition, it can be easy to lose focus on the actual self and turn even a simple act of self-care or self-improvement into just another chore or task on your to-do list (and part of an $11 billion dollar industry). If you find yourself losing interest in your goal, stressed by the need for achievement, or feeling critical about failing, it may be time to reevaluate.
For more inspiration, explore UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center where you can browse articles about the science of wellness and sign up for weekly tips!