Reigniting Resolutions and Surviving the Winter Slump


How is the new year treating you and your loved ones?

If the answer is something like “not so great”, you are not alone. It’s not uncommon for mental health to waver some in January and February, the “Monday” of the year. You or those around you might be experiencing a post-holiday crash, seasonal difficulties due to lack of sunshine, and some frustration or exhaustion with trying to get back into the swing of life and engage in new goals and habits set for 2023. Does that sound familiar?

While the big calendar change can light a fire under us for big goals, the winter funk can dampen that fire. Here are some things to consider when trying to fuel or re-spark the motivation flame:

  • One of the biggest barriers to progress is failing to appreciate the process. Are you celebrating small victories on the way to big goals?
  • Look for small steps to reward yourself for. This works for rewarding others (e.g. kids) as well!
  • Come up with valuable rewards for yourself and your loved ones. Favorite meals, movies, games, and other joyful experiences as well as words of praise - to ourselves and others - work wonders for adding fuel to the motivation fire.
  • Evaluate and adjust your goals. The big resolutions we make on New Year’s Eve are sometimes too large or too long term to accomplish fast enough, before we lose our motivation. So try to set shorter-term, smaller goals, and work up to bigger ones over time.
  • Check in with your feelings. Are you feeling proud of yourself for taking steps, or are you beating yourself up for not meeting your goals fast enough? If the answer is the latter, take some time to show yourself compassion and give yourself praise for where you are at now. You won’t get far by being mean to yourself. Build a base of confidence, not criticism, to build from.
  • Connect with others about their goals. Even if your goals differ, take time to discuss, praise, and encourage each other. Come up with ways to fan each other’s motivation flames. This can be so helpful in times we feel unable to keep our own flame lit!
  • Check in with your values. What is important to you? Why did you set the goals you set? Do they line up with your values? Explore your intentions. Adjust accordingly.

Keep an open mind as you take a look at the goals you’ve set. If you feel like your goals aren’t right anymore, or you have to adjust them, or you want to give up altogether, don’t judge yourself! Take a break, consider what really matters to you. You can start fresh on any day, week, or month. Let's not let winter bring us down!

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