how to approach new year’s resolutions when you struggle with anxiety

no resolutions? no problem.

First thing’s first: HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Christmas is almost here and before we all know it, it’s going to be 2019 (I can’t believe it either!). And with the New Year comes the “new YOU”right? Ugh, wrong. So wrong.

I ditched the typical New Year’s resolutions – aka losing weight and participating in fitness challenges – a couple of years ago. THANK GOODNESS I did, because honestly, those goals did nothing but set me up for disappointment, defeat or feeling like I failed in some way.

Now, I’m all for implementing healthier lifestyle choices; if it helps you to begin those on the first of the year, then go for it! Personally, I have to tread lightly with this all-too-popular trend because let’s be real – if I set a goal and fail at it, I’ll feel nothing but shame toward myself. That’s not a way to start the New Year, now is it?

If you’re anything like me and battle regular anxiety or even high levels of stress, I recommend taking a different approach to your 2019 resolutions intentions. 

Instead of setting goals focused on specific (and sometimes unrealistic) results, I encourage you to set intentions that focus on feelings.

What does that mean, you ask? Well, allow me to elaborate by digging into the three aspirations I plan to work on in the upcoming year.

listen to your body

Instead of calorie counting or following a specific diet, eat what makes you feel good; instead of scheduling five workouts each week, listen to your body and workout when it feels right.

If you’ve read my previous blog on food, you know I’ve learned my lesson from dieting too hard (*cough cough* Whole30). Now, I focus on eating balanced meals that make me feel my best.

Well, I’ve also been known to go a little overboard with my fitness routine in the last decade or so – pushing myself too hard to the point of injury or burnout. But no matter how much I was exercising, I wasn’t seeing any kind of results. Thankfully, I took note from my personal trainer and instead of forcing 5+ workouts in each week, I started to allow myself to rest when my body was tired, super sore or simply if I wasn’t feeling up to it. The benefit? Not only do I feel better physically, my mental health has improved. Win-win!

practice setting boundaries

Boundaries are hard, but damn are they worth setting. Setting boundaries – learning to say no for your own benefit – will do wonders for your overall mental health.

Also, communicating your wants and needs to those closest to you will allow you to express yourself and give your family and friends the opportunity to better understand who you are. Practice setting boundaries with your partner, friends and family members, and focus on feeling less guilty and more at peace with the idea. Read more on how I’m working on this whole boundaries thing here.

prioritize self-care

Don’t wait until January 1 – make it a priority to take care of yourself first right now. Self-care means something different for everyone, but for me it means committing to less with others (hi, boundaries!) and doing more to fuel my needs.

Friendly reminder: self-care is not selfish. So, listen to your thoughts; listen to your body. What do you need? Fulfill those needs and desires – make more time for you.

So, 2019 may not be the year I conquer the keto diet or the year that I run my first marathon (I can barely manage a 5K and I’m totally OK with that!) … But, it will be a year full of mindfulness and self-care – two things I am proud to be working toward.

You don’t need to become a new person in the New Year, but I do recommend putting more effort into listening to your body, being mindful and being happy. What intentions have you set for the upcoming year?

Happy almost-2019!



Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

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