Using the New Year to motivate yourself is a great way to set some goals and push yourself to next level. However, it is also important to make sure your goals are realistic and to pace yourself. At your own rate, within your means.
If you live at a constantly fast pace, you are more likely to become stressed and/or burned out. Your body and mind cannot maintain that constant pressure, even if the stress is towards something positive (weight training, work promotions etc.)
What we also know is that setting New Year’s resolutions is not necessarily a solution to making changes in your life. Norcross and Vangarelli (1988) found that during a 2-year period, only ~1 in 5 (19%) participants kept to their resolution. However, they also found that 50% of those who were successful had one ‘slip up’, meaning that they may not have kept to it. This is an important lesson to take – once you trip up, dust yourself off and back into it.
Change requires willpower, building new habits and giving yourself time. To ‘pace’ yourself is to choose the speed you move at with your workload, developments, planning or change management. It’s great to model for your children and other family members to help reduce and manage stress.
Pacing and what it does for you
Being able to pace yourself is an important way of showing self-compassion. Self-compassion is needed to create a stable emotional base and for positive wellbeing. By allowing ourselves to be patient in goal setting, we are more likely to want to do it (positive reinforcement). We also need to show self-compassion in our ability to do things and achieve goals. If, for example, you’ve set a goal to complete a marathon, it wouldn’t be compassionate to plan to run marathon pace the next day.
The below video from the Mind & Life Institute provides information about mindfulness, compassion and pacing for the new year.
Further reading can be found here – they delve further into the art of pacing your goals and making regular, but small changes to your lifestyle:
Updated on: 21/04/2022