Our spot on the site where we chat about mental health and wellbeing, with a bit of a word about New Year’s Resolutions.

Hello and a very warm welcome to our spot on the site where we chat about mental health, wellbeing, and basically stuff that may be affecting you, or people around you. Nothing special or radical here: just a time out to talk about a few things, with no promise of miracle cures or anything like that. Here’s hoping 2022 is a decent year for us all.

To kick off, a few words this week on new year’s resolutions. Specifically, the peer pressure that can come with them.

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned new year’s resolution. In fact, having break points in the year to try and get our brains to try something new or give something up can be really valuable. I’ve used new year to get out of bad habits before, with mixed levels of success. Certainly it’s been useful for weight loss in the past, although I did discover it wasn’t in the end new year’s resolutions that ultimately helped me with that. But they did no harm.

The bit I have a struggle with is the discourse. The idea that you have to be open about what your resolutions are, and the pressure to keep them (or joke about how quickly you’ve given them up). This is the cycle of course: we’re surrounded by articles and posts telling us what resolutions to try, and giggling about how long we keep them before. If that helps you, then brilliant.

But conversely, there’s an opportunity here to do things that may be beneficial to you, rather than conforming to an expectation of what to do. And I’ve personally found – you may think differently – that more often than not, when I try and make a long-lasting change to my life, it’s done best out of the light of the new year. I tend to keep quiet about it, get my head down, and that’s, on balance, worked better for me.

Still, I’m not in the slightest bit blind to the idea of a fresh start, and the turn of a year provides it for many people. All I’d say on that is do things on your terms, not on those set for by others. Make changes and adjustments to your life that work for you, not those that others prescribe you need.

A little bit of peer pressure can be a good thing. Too much? Well, that’s – you don’t need me to tell you – where it all becomes a bit self-defeating.

You all take care and look after yourselves. This column returns next week.

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