We put a lot of effort into making resolutions because we like to check things off our checklist. We want to do more because doing more gives us a sense of progress.

But what if our progress both mentally and physically has more to do with the wrong things we are already doing?

Sometimes in life, we need to step back and let go of habits that no longer serve us. As you prepare for a new year, here are seven things you should consider letting go for a healthier and more fulfilling year.

1. Big plans without goals

Resolving not to go down certain paths as you enter a new year is not a bad thing and the idea in itself comes from a place of good intentions for yourself.

However, we are mostly unable to keep to the resolution we make through the course of the year. Up to 80% of resolutions don’t make it through the year. So this time around, how about you let go of making resolutions?

Instead of resolutions, having goals and actionable plans to achieve them is a better way to get things done through the new year. This way, each time you achieve a milestone, you can check it off your list, and at the end of the year, you will find that you would have crossed off most or all of what you had listed and probably exceeded your goals. When tiny gains compound, the effect can be massive.

2. The downside of setting unrealistic standards

Success is an innate desire of humans. This means that by default, we would want whatever it is we are embarking on to excel.

This desire, however, often drives us to want to ensure that every aspect of any project we are embarking on is well accounted for and indeed, preparation always precedes a great performance.

The problem with toxic perfectionism though, is that rather than working hard to succeed, it makes us channel all that energy in trying not to fail.

We set unrealistic standards for ourselves, then spend days, weeks, sometimes years preparing, and before we realize it, we are so exhausted, yet, we haven’t even started.

Cut yourself some slack. Everything big started small so start small. Go through the details of whatever it is you want to do, but don’t dwell on it for too long.

If you have big dreams for your business or life, break them down into stages, and step by step, as you work the pieces together, you will see your picture slowly build into what you envisioned.

3. Unhealthy eating

Processed food has become more popular over the last decade and they certainly serve a lot of purposes in our diet such as adding variety and saving time. 

But while they are useful, an excessive intake of them causes the build up of simple sugars, saturated fat, and macroelements. Over time, as a large study confirmed, these nutrients increase the risk of contracting cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Cutting down on your intake of processed food is a step in the right direction to ensuring a more healthy lifestyle; though it can be difficult to get consistent at not taking junk. If you decide to cut down on your processed food intake in 2022, these are some necessary steps you can take to help you keep at it.

  • Get rid of all the junk in your refrigerator.
  • Cook large quantities of food at a go and refrigerate for later use.
  • Always have fresh fruits in your home.
  • Squeeze fresh juices out of fruits rather than purchasing carbonated drinks.

These will ensure you always have a supply of healthy food so you don’t have to depend on junk for your energy fix.

4. Shutting down your creative energy

Self-doubt makes you unable to pursue what you want to because you feel you are not up to par.

Sometimes, even when you do make progress and begin to chase after your dreams or join a community of like minds, it manifests itself as the impostor syndrome, making you question if you are worthy of being a part of such greatness.

But here’s the thing: If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is uncertainty. This means that if we let our doubt roam free, we will never have a day’s worth of break because unplanned situations will always arise. To successfully let go of self-doubt in the next year, practice the following:

  • When the thoughts of past negative experiences come up, remind yourself of the positive ones.
  • Stop yourself from comparing your achievement with those of others.
  • Have a support system of friends that don’t make you question your worth and let go of those who do.
  • Criticize yourself less and believe in yourself.

5. Allowing energy suckers into your life

As humans, we live dependent on other humans and naturally crave connection with people. It is, therefore, no surprise that having at least one person with whom we connect helps us perform better and live a more emotionally stable life.

On the other hand, having toxic relationships has quite the opposite effect. While in a toxic relationship, you doubt yourself.

You find yourself always compromising, as every day feels like a battle with the friends whom you are supposed to be the most comfortable with, yet you just feel smaller whenever they are around.

Even when you have recognized that some of your relationships are toxic, it is difficult to detach from them because you’re probably afraid of being alone.

However, to free yourself from a toxic relationship, it is not enough to admit that it is toxic, you should go ahead to seek professional help and slowly begin to express your feelings.

6. Repressed emotions never die

Anger is a natural response to pain and should be allowed expression rather than be buried.

You might be used to keeping silent about your pain out of consideration for others or because you don’t know how to express yourself, however, doing so will only hurt you more as studies have shown that anger causes headaches and that suppressed anger especially leads to anxiety and depression.

Learn to control your anger healthily to avoid hurting others in the process. To achieve this, start by letting people know you are upset when it happens rather than glossing over it, allowing yourself to hurt, and unconsciously communicating your pain.

7. Resisting change

There is this cycle we tend to get stuck in. It involves making a choice we end up regretting, and getting stuck regretting that decision. Next thing we know, we are unable to move past the many thoughts of how much better life would have been if we had made a different choice.

What we fail to realize though, is that the more time we spend wishing we had done something right, is what we should be using to start anew.

For a change, you should reflect on your past and list what could’ve gone better rather than dwell on it. Then, you should go ahead to find ways to retrace your steps so you can get back on track. Remember, though the past is fixed, it is the present decisions you make that will give you a more likable past and an even better future.

Final Thoughts

Health is an often underemphasized topic in our society, especially mental health.

Many times, we simply put off that visit to the hospital or even those habits we can change to improve our health not realizing we are only endangering ourselves. The truth is that your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Even as the year comes to an end, endeavor to make the right changes for your good health while you can. Preventive measures, after all, are better than cures.

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