Ditch deprivation, embrace abundance


UP THE RESOLUTION Rather than focusing on eating less biscuits, enjoy adding in lots of healthy snacks.

Kinder New Year resolutions set us up for success

Mental Matters
Jannah Walshe

It is that time of year where we are in the throes of resolutions and making changes for the year ahead. I admit to not being a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Not because they are, in and of themselves, a bad thing; it is no harm to have times in life when we stop and reflect and see what changes we would like to implement. My issue with resolutions is that they are heavily focused on the negative.
We start out by criticising ourselves. ‘I’ve overindulged over Christmas’, ‘I’m too fat’, ‘I’m not healthy enough’, ‘I’m going nowhere in my life’, ‘I can never make things happen’ etc. And we use this as the basis to create our resolutions, which are typically all about deprivation and suffering. And to top it off we do all of this at a time in the year when it is dark, gloomy and cold. Is it any wonder so many resolutions don’t make it to the end of January!
So could we change our thinking around resolutions? I suggest that we can still be proactive about making changes in our lives but in a kinder, more ‘mental health’ friendly manner. Instead of focusing on deprivation, think about adding in. Instead of thinking about having less in your life, think about having abundance.
Have a think about what you could bring into your life to help you feel physically, emotionally and mentally better? If you are feeling physically sluggish, what types of healthy foods can you add into your day? If you want to become more active, what small bursts of activity could you add into the week? If you are feeling unmotivated in your career, is there an online course you could do?
The idea here is not to stop doing what you are currently doing, it is simply to add to it. For example, don’t focus on eating less biscuits, look at where you can add in healthy snacks. Don’t focus on getting off the sofa completely, add in a short walk every other day. Don’t focus on what you see as all of your failings, look at where you are achieving.
Mentally you will feel better because you are not depriving yourself, you will feel like you are doing some healthy things, some changes are happening but not in such a sudden way that your body goes into shock and just longs for an unhealthy treat.
Also, create things to look forward to this year. This could be anything from a walk with the family or a slice of cake at the weekend, to a new course or a break away. It doesn’t matter what the thing is as long as it is something that you would truly enjoy and look forward to.
Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, if for years you have set New Year’s resolutions only to have them fail, why keep doing it the same way? Try a different approach. Not only will you be setting yourself up to succeed, but you will be treating yourself in a much kinder and nicer way. So instead of deprivation, think abundance, and see if it makes a difference to the start of your new year.  

Jannah Walshe is a fully accredited psychotherapist, course facilitator and mental-health speaker based in Co Mayo. More information about Jannah can be found at www.jannahwalshe.ie.