By Sophia Fedorowicz
New Year’s resolutions fill me with a palpable dread. Each and every year the inevitable conversation is rolled out among the people I find myself in regular contact with, and I fight the urge to roll my eyes right in their inquisitive little faces. This is not to suggest that I find their attempts to better themselves trivial or that I dislike the concept of a new year’s resolution. It’s just that for those of us blessed with the gift of anxiety, New Year’s resolutions present a whole new opportunity to figuratively implode.
Firstly, there is the obstacle course of choosing a resolution to be negotiated through. Trying to land in that sweet spot between something that is attainable but not so easy that it looks to others as a cop out. Nightmare.
Secondly, there is the duty of actually performing the behaviours necessary to be able to say that you have stuck to your resolution. This could involve adding something new to your routine or indeed cutting something out. Either way at some point I end up tired, tiredness leads to falling off the wagon. Frustrating.
Third and finally, the day arrives when I find myself among other humans and someone turns to me and says ‘oh hey, how’s the resolution going?’ and I fight the urge to mimic their question in a shrill mocking tone and flounce off in a child-like strop.
This sequence of events may sound like the traditional course of things concerning New Year’s resolutions, what makes it different for people with anxiety is as follows:
I genuinely believe that if I cannot see through this resolution (whatever that may be) I am the epitome of failure. That’s not the comic kind of ‘oh, what am I like!?’ sort of failure that sweeps around the office on January 3rd and everyone has a good laugh. It’s the kind that bores into my mind like a worm into an apple. It festers and grows and taints everything I touch. I believe that other people see me this way too. I panic when I think about what I will say if someone asks me about insert resolution here. I give myself a ridiculously hard time because I think that everyone else is a bright shining success and I am quite the opposite. I may even have panic attacks. I may begin to avoid going to places where I know someone might ask me about it. I become paranoid that others are talking about it all the time and casual remarks are intended as back handed slights against my character. See how quickly that snowballed?
So this year I’ve made the executive decision to put an end to this cycle of dread and self-loathing. This year my New Year’s resolution is to never again put myself through this circus of doom; I quit New Year’s resolutions. I choose to accept myself, my flaws and my successes. I choose to try each and every day to be the best I can be without pressuring myself to keep up with others, or indeed to reach for unattainable goals in an unreasonable time frame. I feel better already and you know something else? I feel like I can stick to this one.