Did you greet January fueled by the energy of some time off over the holidays, and bursting with the enthusiasm of fresh goals or resolutions for the new year?

For some, January puts a pin in the positivity bubble, making it one of the most depressing months of the year. You’ve headed back to work, the days are short, the weather is cold, and motivation is waning. Perhaps those optimistic resolutions you’ve made have already gone by the wayside as the treadmill in the corner has become a collection point for wayward clothing.

If you’re already struggling to maintain your goals for 2022, you’re not alone. Monday, January 17 was “Blue Monday.” A day known as one of the most depressing days of the year where all goals go out the window. Also, fast approaching January 19 is recognized as “Quitter’s Day.” By that date on the calendar, many people have abandoned their new year’s resolutions, according to a study by Strava.

Before chastising yourself, evaluate your motivation in making a resolution or setting goals for the year. It may be time to review those goals, reframe them, or abandon them. For some, connecting with friends and family members over the holidays has lured us into “comparisonitis,” inspiring us to set goals based on the achievements of others, rather than our own desires.

Don’t feel you’re constantly in competition with others. We can all win!

Defined as “The compulsion to compare one’s accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance, etc.,” comparisonitis may be driving us to set goals that don’t truly resonate with us. Are your goals being established based on how you believe you compare to others?

While it’s easy to constantly compare ourselves to others, it’s not an effective measuring stick and is damaging to mental wellness by undermining self-esteem and self-worth.

Your friend ran her first marathon last year and now you want to do the same. Evaluate if it’s something you truly want to achieve, or if it’s that ache of comparisonitis that’s driving your goal-setting. If you decide you want to move forward with it, start slow. Join a local running club for beginners to see if running is a sport you want to pursue. Celebrate the small successes along the way. You ran a full kilometer without a walk break. Fantastic! You completed a 5K race. Wonderful! And if you discover you don’t enjoy running, find an activity that you enjoy.

Setting goals you genuinely care about for yourself will strengthen your commitment and guide your success.

Social media can also trigger comparisonitis and be detrimental to our mental wellness. Celebrities and influencers are touting the latest fad diets, flaunting their lavish lifestyle, designer clothing, expensive cars and exotic vacations. Commit to spending less time on social media, or unfollow accounts promoting a lifestyle that’s triggering comparisonitis or resentment.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies”
– Nelson Mandela

Tips For Successful Goal-Setting:

  • Establish goals that are based on changes or achievements you truly want to embrace. Don’t let comparisonitis drive your goals.
  • Be specific. “Exercising more” is too broad and difficult to measure success.
  • Break each goal down into smaller goal posts. For example, you want to eat healthier. Start with a series of small, tangible goalposts. Commit to eliminating that sweet treat that creeps in with your sugar craving at 4:00 P.M. each day.
  • Avoid fad diets. Chasing the latest fad diet often results in rebound weight gain. Maybe this is the year to embrace the ‘no-diet diet’, and incorporate small, long-term changes towards your improved wellness.
  • Commit to 21 days. It’s commonly believed that it takes 21 days for a healthy habit to really take hold.
  • Celebrate your small successes! Don’t wait until you reach the final goal post to celebrate. Self-celebration throughout your journey is essential.

Small changes done every day will help you maintain your progress.

As January continues, and Bell Let’s Talk day is fast approaching, if you are struggling with comparisonitis, feeling unworthy, or plagued with self-doubt, we can help. Our Registered Psychologist, Shelley Hanna is here to listen and is available to coach you on your path to improved mental wellness.


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