New year's resolutions: be hopeful but realistic, says therapist

·3 min read

SAINT JOHN • Setting New Year's resolutions are a normal part of every January. But this January is anything but normal.

Nigel Bone, licensed counselling therapist and registered psychotherapist at Port City Counselling Services, says this year it's a good idea to be flexible with your New Year's resolutions, whether it's going to the gym more or finishing that novel.

"If you're going to do new year's resolution, set both long term and short term goals because there can always be setbacks, and it's okay to accept that but it's important to develop a game plan for how to get around them."

Bone said people are moving into 2021, "not necessarily refreshed" after the events of 2020. He said he wants to see people be hopeful, but also remember to be realistic.

"Everybody has experienced to some degree, some strain on their mental health. So, again, be aware that in the new year, if you need to, you may have sick days, but mental health days are also okay."

Ally Santos, the co-owner of 3rd Degree Training Saint John, said she doesn't expect to see the normal uptick of new members in January.

But she said she's still hopeful for 2021.

"We were very hopeful that with the vaccine going around and use the number of cases being down, we are going to start to pick up again," Santos said.

Brad Hawkins, GoodLife Fitness' senior director of operations for Atlantic Canada, said January is traditionally the busiest month of the year for gyms, but this year is different for all gyms, with public health restrictions. In Atlantic Canada though, GoodLife gyms are open with COVID-19 safety protocols.

"This year, it's more important than ever to set goals to be more active, to take care of your physical and mental health," he said in an emailed statement.

He said GoodLife has seen more than 10-million check-ins at its clubs across Canada and more than 10,000 people have taken part in its online classes.

"We're hopeful that 2021 will be busy as vaccines roll out and people return to the gym with renewed energy and enthusiasm," he said in the email.

Going into the new year, Bone said it's important to remind oneself to be active and stay connected, which can help keep your mental health healthy. Practicing being in the moment can help, as well as positive self affirmation and self-care, he said.

"Try to recognize that this year, hopefully, it's going to be a lot better, but don't set oneself up for self sabotage or failure in that. It can be hard to plan. There's a lot of uncertainties. So, sometimes being in the moment and to some kind of degree appreciating and grounding yourself in the day with what's good [can help]."

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada.

Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal