How often have you had goals that started with, “By the end of the year, I’ll achieve…” As we step into the new year, it’s natural for us to look at the next 365 days as a clean slate to work on new tasks, hobbies, and goals. But we also give ourselves a pressurizing deadline for the end of the year, expecting our goals and tasks to be complete by then. If we fail to accomplish set goals and tasks, we inadvertently feel panicked and anxious, even despair over the fact that our deadline is coming to a close, especially during the month of December.
As we step into this gloom of not being able to accomplish our goals, our mind starts rehashing the setbacks we faced and the mistakes we committed in the past year. It’s human to get dragged into the negative thoughts that constantly swirl around in our minds, but the power to step back and take control is also in your hands. We’ve put together a few strategies on how you can close the year with grace and find peace within.
1. Balance the negative with positive
Our cognitive bias compels us to focus on what went wrong rather than what went right. This thought process can negatively impact our view of what’s happening in our life. When you find yourself focusing more on all the things that went wrong, combat these emotions with a list of good things that you have in your life. This will help you look at the bigger picture with a neutral perspective rather than dwelling on the negativity.
2. Beware of The Zeigarnik Effect
Discovered by Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, a student of the influential theorist Kurt Luwin, The Zeigarnik effect describes our tendency to better remember incomplete tasks instead of the completed ones. As the year comes to a close, it’s easier to remember the things we didn’t complete instead of our accomplishments of the year. You can counteract this effect by listing down all the important tasks you completed, this can lead to feelings of accomplishment, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
3. Stop social comparison
The end of the year often means socializing, meeting more people, and learning about their goals and dreams. Even on social media, we see others thriving and being successful, we see them bragging about all the things they accomplished in the past year and we end up comparing ourselves to them.
Putting such social comparison in perspective can help you overcome feelings of unworthiness. Prepare a script of stories you’d like to share with others, of the good things that happened to you this year. If you faced adversity, think of how you’d like to address it, if at all, and stick with your plan.
4. Deadlines can be arbitrary
Before you beat yourself up for missing your deadline, ask yourself, is this deadline real? Do you really need to finish this task before the year ends? If the answer is no, cut yourself some slack. We know how difficult it can be to keep your New Year’s resolutions and if you’re someone who fails completing them, try opting for monthly or weekly goals instead. This takes off the pressure and makes them more manageable.
5. Focus on the lessons you learned
Are you someone who dwells on the unfairness of a situation that went wrong? It’s natural to do so but constantly thinking about the unpleasant feelings can keep you stuck in one mindset. Rather, focus on the facts instead of the emotions. Remind yourself of the lessons you learned from surviving the pain of a difficult situation. Think of yourself as a narrator and neutrally recall the event step-by-step, going over the finer details. This will take the emotional sting out of the experience and help put it into perspective.
6. Don’t make it personal
If you’ve failed to complete a goal that you’d set for the year, don’t take it to heart. By separating your failure from your identity, you don’t let your emotions play havoc on your mind. Just because you weren’t successful doing it one way, doesn’t mean there aren’t various other ways that can take you towards that same success.
Failing doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. Say to yourself that, “If I fail, I am one step closer to success; I am smarter and more well equipped because of the lesson this experience has taught me”.
To start the new year on a wonderful note, here are everyday affirmations for success that you can repeat to yourself daily.
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