Skip to main content

The Procrastinator's Guide to New Year's Resolutions

The Procrastinator's Guide to New Year's Resolutions

If you’re anything like me, you put off setting your New Year’s resolutions — and now it’s almost the end of January. Whoops.

Luckily, it isn’t too late to think about the big and small things you want to change or add to your life. For example, maybe you want to take the next step in your career and get a promotion, or perhaps you’d love to take up a new way to stay active that you actually enjoy. Or maybe 2022 is finally the year you sign up for therapy and commit to your mental and emotional wellness. Whatever it is you want to work on or begin this year, it’s never too late to start. 

That said, there are still some general best practices when it comes to goal-setting, which is really what New Year’s resolutions are: goals. “The biggest mistake I think people make with goal-setting is making a result the goal. For example, getting a promotion. Those are results, and results are vague and potentially overwhelming as goals,” Ghadeer Nasser, a health and wellness coach and therapist in training, tells Apartment Therapy.

Instead of focusing on results, Nasser recommends breaking big goals into smaller, achievable actions and tasks. For example, if the goal is to land a promotion or raise, arriving just 10 minutes earlier to your workday can pack a big punch. “These are actions that are clear, concise, and achievable,” she says.

Nasser notes that aiming high isn’t a bad thing at all, but you need to make a clear path and cultivate the right mindset. “The motivation needs to be clear and kind. Kind as in kind to yourself — when you think of why you are doing what you are doing, it should be for you and feel true to who your authentic self is,” Nasser says. 

Of course, if you’re someone who has yet to set your resolutions for 2022, chances are your procrastination may be the result of overwhelm at both your “late” start as well as the tasks you want to accomplish. For that, Nasser recommends getting real with yourself and answering what held you back from chasing your goals before. “Sit with what caused you to stop in the first place. Turn inward; don’t just try to discipline yourself into getting going again. Always try to find the root of the problem and you’ll go so much further, rather than using discipline as a temporary Band-Aid when the root remains untreated.”

For example, maybe you’re a single parent and time is incredibly limited, or perhaps you’re struggling with your mental health and that makes change feel absolutely unconquerable. Whatever your personal situation may be, write it out and identify what the full picture is so you can start working with what you’ve got. “I recommend journaling about [what has held you back] because the act of turning your thoughts into words on paper will give you some separation between you and the issue and help you see it more clearly,” Nasser says. This helps you start working toward a solution. 

Overall, the point is this: It’s never too late to start becoming the best version of yourself. Whether it’s Jan. 1 or Oct. 1, there are no real deadlines and no designated start dates for your growth to begin. All that matters is that you got started and are trying at all.