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Forums / Multicultural experiences / New Year's Resolutions?

Topic: New Year's Resolutions?

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    • Greece
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    31 December 2017
    I've been asked a few times this week what's my new year's resolutions. It's always awkward and stressful to be put on the spot like this and no matter how expected it may be (year after year), we can get caught unguarded when the question pops up. Is new year's resolutions something you are accustomed to in your culture? Even though as an idea sounds positive, to set some new goals at the beginning of a new year and plan ahead where you'd like to see yourself in a year's time, the daunting reality for many, and especially if you are battling with a mental health issue, could be that you still feel stuck, numb, unable to plan and maybe even hopeless knowing that you haven't progressed much in the year that just ended. Progress is not easy to see from the inside out. 'Have you got over your depression yet?' someone asked me. 'Still don't have a partner?', 'Have you found a job yet?', 'Didn't you say you'd start going to the gym?', etc the list goes on. Pressure is on. The message is clear: You need to change. You're not good enough as you are now. etc. There are reasons why new year's resolutions are difficult for each of us. What are they for you? What is difficult about New Year and new year's resolutions? On one hand there is the post Christmas come-down, (eat too much, drink too much, spend too much etc), then there are the New Year celebration pressures and resolutions can just add more stress to the whole thing. Many face financial pressures (not being able to afford presents, decorations, a nice meal or the latest gadgets), or social pressures (social gatherings where we feel excluded, out of place, pressured or uncomfortable). It seems to be the time of the year where people get into some sort of existential crises, plus painful memories of childhood or lost relationships or families not living in Australia bring back difficult past memories which can hurt. So how do you prepare for those awkward questions that people ask? What are some of your responses? What to say when people ask you what have you done with yourself this year? or what do you do/ about your job? or about having a partner? or other awkward questions? When asked about my resolutions I say : I try to be present instead of buying presents. I wanna wrap people I love in a hug instead of wrapping gifts. I send love instead of cards or gifts. I donate food instead of shopping for food. I make peace instead of making cookies. And finally, I wanna be the light instead of seeing the lights.
    1 person found this helpful
  2. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
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    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    31 December 2017 in reply to Donte'

    Hi Donte',

    What a good topic. I have personally never been asked what my new resolution is but that may be because it isn't really something adopted in my culture, rather the emphasis is on wishing people a happy and fulfilling year.
    I think new year resolutions seem to imply the presence of unfortunate circumstances or negativity that need improvement or changing, I have never heard anyone say my new year resolution is to continue in the satisfying and happy way I have been already.
    In my community and culture there is a strong belief that you cannot possibly know what is written for you in your life and thus you need to live by each moment and say 'God willing I live tomorrow' I hope....
    I think we are creating and learning everyday and we shouldn't be limited to reflecting and changing it as the year is up, it should be an individual journey that holds personal meaning which can be about anything not necessarily a change of life circumstances.

    2 people found this helpful
  3. blueskye
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    • Hong Kong
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    67 posts
    2 January 2018 in reply to Donte'

    I understand that New Year resolutions can be stressful.

    How can we conquer this? - Put a positive spin on them!

    New Year resolutions should be a goal that one should strive towards and is possible to achieve.

    You gave a few good examples, Donte. I am going to use some to give a positive spin.

    Instead of "having a partner' as a New Year resolution - it should be, "I am going to work on myself, boost my self-confidence, and put myself out there to meet other people".

    If a person asked you, "what have you done with yourself this year?" when you have had a bad year, you can honestly tell them, "2017 wasn't the best for me, but 2018 is going to better" and then tell yourself that, "Another year to improve and the previous year is the past."

    In regards to New Year resolutions for me, I am in my penultimate year of university this year. My New Year resolution is not to "land a graduate job" but to "apply for as many vacation work as possible and try my best in them".

    Happy New Years, everyone! May we all have a fab year xx

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Elizabeth CP
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    2 January 2018 in reply to blueskye
    I have decided my goals don't necessarily have to be about changing myself. If there is something that is important to you the goal is to keep yourself in a position to continue. For example I enjoy walking. I'm also a carer for my husband so I need to remain fit enough to be able to do all the chore around the house & garden. I have found exercising daily for at least 30 min (often going for a walk) works for me although life can get in the way so my goal is to continue doing this each day. Sometimes we have things we want to or need to change. In my case I need to relax more so I avoid getting overtired. Attempts to achieve this have failed in the past so I don't have an obvious plan. My goal is to try out different relaxing activities to see what works for me. Even if something doesn't work I have learnt something rather than failed. What do others think.
  5. J.M.12345
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    46 posts
    2 January 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi Donte',

    Great topic! I agree that the Christmas/New Year season at the end of each year can be a little (or very) daunting, especially for people with mental illness. I found, not so much this year because I am doing better mental health wise now, but last Christmas, that seeing the celebrations accentuated my pain. I felt even more depressed and down seeing others around me laughing, eating, spending. For me, a warning sign for my depression is a bit of an existential crisis and questions about existence - what is it all, what's it for, what's it worth - and these questions came faster and faster when the year was ending and I watched as people engaged in seemingly trivial activities.

    So yes, I 100% agree that it can be tough and annoying.

    One thing I did this year to help with this was leaving my New Year's celebration early and coming to watch the fireworks on TV alone at home. This might sound lame - I left a dinner party - but it allowed me to reflect on my year and what I aspire for the year to come. I highly recommend this method. It helped me to a good start.

    This is where New Year's resolutions come in. Personally, I LOVE new year's resolutions - but let me explain! If you're going to make New Year's resolutions, you have to do it right. A couple of years back, my resolutions were "write a book", "get 90% and up for all exams", "run for 30 mins each day" etc etc. But this put pressure on me. It made me feel the need to appeal to a certain idea of success sold to us by society, that idea that success is waking up in the morning and working out, getting jobs at high tier firms and so on. And this is bad, bad, bad for your mental health.

    But anyway.

    So I agree with blueskye. It's about having the right resolutions e.g. try my best, apply for more jobs. One of mine is believe in myself again. The other is to believe in my mental health recovery. Things like positive thinking, gratefulness, love, all those things make for better resolutions. They inspire you, rather than push you. In my opinion, I also stick to three resolutions only. Too much can be overwhelming. 

    So why do I love resolutions? They give me hope for a better year, and they remind me that there are some things I can control, that despite illness, misfortune etc, I can continue working on believing in myself for example. 

    Finally, I wanted to say THANK YOU for bringing up the existential crisis thing. Every year, at New Year's Eve, I'm left with a melancholy at the transience of life, what they call in Japanese "mono no aware" (look it up). It's good to know I'm not alone and other people feel this way. I guess it part of what makes us human, and the best we can do is continue to walk, to talk, to love each other and to try to leave a meaningful mark, no matter how small, in the lives of those who walk with us.

    xx Josette

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    • Greece
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    845 posts
    2 January 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hi Hayfa,

    There are positives and negatives about new year's resolutions as I said in my thread above. I agree with you that each day is a chance for change, improvement and goal setting as well as evaluating what has been. We don't need to wait till the end of the year to do that. Many in my background also believe in destiny and that whatever is written cannot change, we just have to accept it. Even though, there is some merit in this mentality (eg. sometimes things happen that are beyond our control), I believe that I am responsible for my own decisions and no invisible hand dictates what step I'm going to take next. No one makes us do things or don't do things. We are all making choices constantly and are responsible for the consequences of these, positive or negative. Having said that, there are things that happen that are out of our control and thus no point worrying about. But it's still stressful when people corner you and expect you to justify why you have or haven't done something simply because it's the new year and you are meant to move on, whatever that may mean... :)

  7. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
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    845 posts
    2 January 2018 in reply to blueskye
    That's awesome outlook blueskye and definitely a positive one! My grandmother who practically raised me always used to say: 'the good are accepted together with the bad'. I have come to accept through the years that this is a very healthy way of looking at life. Having full knowledge that good and bad things will always happen in one's life and that's ok. As I accept the good and positive and beneficial things I also accept the bad and negative and see them as lessons that will benefit me in the end, thus, needed them. A common phrase we have in my culture is 'the tap doesn't have always water'...It goes back in the time where people were drawing water from wells and sometimes the tap wouldn't have water. To me, it shows me a mindfulness that life won't always be smooth or according to my plans but that's OK. It doesn't have to. As I am not the center of the universe and life is not obliged to follow my intentions, I can learn from whatever comes my way and adjust accordingly knowing that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. X

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