Goals can be very helpful to guide us and motivate us. However, it can feel very discouraging when you feel uncertain about what you want and how to achieve it. This is why many people feel pressured by the promise of new beginnings with New Year’s resolutions.
Though self-exploration is a very introspective concept, it is very common and normal for people to seek support and guidance. Seeking individual therapy can be a very valuable and validating tool for gaining insight and clarity. Uncertainty and collaboration is a part of the process, so don’t worry if you are feeling lost as the new year approaches.
Help yourself manage unnecessary stress and pressure as this New Year dawns. Keep reading for tips on navigating and coping with uncertainty, how individual therapy can help you find clarity and how to effectively set yourself up for success with your goals.
If self-improvement, self-reflection, self-growth and crushing your goals is priority on your resolution list, individual therapy may be the answer. You and your individual therapist will collaborate to determine your personal goals and what form of therapy will be most beneficial to you.
Individual therapy can have life-long benefits. You will have the opportunity to learn about yourself in a safe place with a trusted professional. Self-reflection can be intimidating, so leaning on a non judgemental, unbiased third party like a therapist to deeply examine your values and goals can promote long-term self-discovery and personal growth.
When starting individual therapy, you can expect to answer a lot of questions about yourself, your past and your feelings to gauge your insight about yourself and your mental health. Using techniques like motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), an individual therapist can help teach you skills for goal setting and harnessing motivation, as well as coping with negative feelings and regulating your emotions.
These are valuable skills that will help you navigate the future, relationships, goals, time management and more. This clarity and insight can make the future less daunting, and new years resolutions inspiring instead of dreadful.
Anxiety is a fear of the unknown, including the greatest unknown about what will happen in the future. Therefore, making goals and planning for the future can be anxiety provoking for many people. Fortunately, there are many effective and evidence-based coping skills we can use to help ease anxiety over uncertainty. Coping skills are very helpful for emotional regulation and distress tolerance to tackle uncertainty when anxiety overwhelms us.
One coping skill is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a simple concept that many people struggle with, but can be very helpful when dealing with anxiety. Mindfulness is the practice of being present and grounded. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on a task and completing it with intention, such as taking a walk, meditating or any other soothing activity that you can limit multitasking/distracting. A full body scan is also an effective mindful exercise that can help us identify where we carry our stress and tension and practice controlling our breathing and feelings.
Another useful coping skill for anxiety, uncertainty and reflection is journaling. Recording your feelings and thought processes can help you make more sense of your feelings, identify patterns in behavior and mood as well as be a safe outlet to verbalize our feelings. Journaling can be as structured (or unstructured!) as you want. If you need help getting started with journaling to improve your mental health, here are some journal prompts to help you begin tackling your anxiety and stress via writing.
Lastly, another tried and true coping skill is simple support. Leaning on friends or family who you can vent to, turn to for advice, or just feel calm and safe in the presence of a loved one. Positive support is pertinent for connection and community. Social support reminds us that we are not alone whether it is physically not alone or not alone with our struggles.
Remember: resolutions are meant to help you, not hurt you. Being uncertain is a part of the process of figuring out what you want and how to get it. Life is a series of problem solving and trial and error. Resolutions are too. They are not set in stone and can be changed or edited in the face of the unknown.
Learn more about gaining confidence when faced with uncertainty, increasing your self-worth and self-confidence and how therapy can be a useful tool and safe space to nourish self-growth.