3 Ways Setting New Year’s Goals is Stressing You Out

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The new year is a time that is filled with hope and possibility. I mean, we have vision board parties, new goals, and this dream for a whole new life. There is something hopeful and promising about New Year’s resolutions, right?

I used to HATE the new year. October through December was this mad dash of trying to accomplish all the major goals that I’d set nine months prior. You see, it’s not because I was lazy or uncommitted to my dreams. It’s that my brain made it challenging for me to keep all the pieces in order.

When you’re a woman with ADHD your dreams are huge, and you can see the possibilities for your future. But when all the pieces get into motion, those dreams get scrambled into the everyday life you live.

I would beat myself up every December because I was nowhere near achieving the New Year’s goals that I’d set. I thought that by ignoring those old goals and setting new ones, it would mean I was on a new path and I would magically create new habits to support me.

Here’s how my pattern would go.

By December 18th, I was really coming to terms with the goals for the current year not being met. I would then work myself into exhaustion from December 30th to 31st setting myself up for success for the next year, creating plans and reminders to move me through.

January 1st, I would be revving to go and start off strong and excited about my direction. By January 20th, I would be running on fumes. By February 1st, I was back to my normal routine. I used to wonder what in the world was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I just follow through on plans I had set? Why was I so undisciplined?

When I was diagnosed with ADHD, my entire life at that moment made sense.

I discovered that I wasn’t lazy or uncommitted, but my brain operated differently. The same reward system didn’t apply to me, and my brain loved the rush. So me pushing myself to exhaustion and waiting until the last minute weren’t character flaws. Boy was I super relieved to learn that.

Here’s the funny thing about my ADHD brain: it craves structure, but it easily creates chaos. I got sick of half-met goals; it was becoming self-esteem killing and frustrating. I discovered that the way I was setting these New Year’s goals was what was stressing me out.

Here are three ways setting New Year’s goals is stressing you out:

#1: You are thinking in extremes.

I had this extreme thinking that I had to fix everything in 12 months or I was failing at life. Are you setting goals that are extremes? Are you trying to upgrade every major area of your life in 12 months?

The Fix: Focus on one to three areas per year to upgrade and don’t expect it to go from frustrated to fabulous overnight. Be prepared to play the long game.

#2: You aren’t celebrating the wins.

I get it, it’s easy to see what we haven’t done. Are you focusing on all the ways you didn’t show up in this past year? Are you only seeing what has to be done?

The Fix: Set a timer for 20 minutes over the next three days and grab your favorite note taking device. Write out all your wins and awesome things that have happened to you over the past year. Make the list long: nothing is off limits.

#3: You think you can do it all alone.

I got this one too; it’s so easy to want to stay in my little space in the world and think I can handle it all on my own. The truth is, staying focused and out of overwhelm is a team effort. Do you feel like you’re “smart” enough or “know” enough to make the changes in your life, but you just can’t seem to consistently follow through?

The Fix: Girl get a coach, therapist, shaman, energy worker, pastor, or all of them. You need a team, you need someone to help you stay focused and accountable, you need to be somewhere where you can get consistent support and reminders. It’s not because you’re stupid, it’s because life is noisy, your brain is fast, and you got a lot to do. Expecting yourself to be your everything is driving you crazy.

Setting goals is only a part of the solution. Giving yourself the space to slow down, celebrate, and get help will allow you to win in ways you never thought possible.

So yes, set those New Year’s goals, but make sure you’re setting yourself up for success, not more stress. I’d love to hear from you in the comments: what are some of the ways you stay on track and accountable throughout the year?

If giving back is one of your New Year’s goals, read about how Antonette teaches her children the importance of giving back and volunteering.

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