The time has come when everyone around us is thinking of and implementing New Years’ Resolutions. The rush of planning a new goal and getting excited about the changes to come surely draws anyone in. So why do most people who make new year’s resolutions abandon the solutions by February and succumb to old habits? Can you relate?
According to a 2016 study, of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, by the end of the year, only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them. (Happy Habits, 2022)
Instead of setting unrealistic New Years’ resolutions, start with small daily changes. It’s great to set a goal but focusing on the smaller steps to achieve the result instead of the overall goal helps to manage and set realistic expectations. Take it day by day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose motivation when results aren’t seen immediately.
According to an article by Centerstone it states, “Unfortunately, there is an unspoken rule that resolutions should be all-or-nothing extremities. Our competitive culture has instilled in us this idea of punishing ourselves if we fail at something, and ultimately, we can end up hurting ourselves more. This pressure to perform well and achieve these unreasonable goals might lead us to fail more than it does to help us succeed. The issue with these types of goals is that they can lead to some degree of self-sabotage before you realize it. The idea is that we shoot for the stars, but life does not always work that way. If you don’t ease your way into your goals, you might find yourself failing more. When we fail, it might impact our mental health negatively and perpetuate a cycle of slipping back into old habits.” (Centerstone, 2021)
Here are four ways to set realistic habits and maintain them throughout the year.
1. Pick the time that is right for YOU
There is nothing magical about the first of January that makes it easier to achieve goals than it would be at other times of the year. Life is unpredictable and can get in the way. Do what makes sense for you.
2. Get specific about your goals
Plan your goals to be measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. You are more likely to reach a goal if you set a timeline.
3. Change your environment
Motivation and willpower will fade with time. Set yourself up for success by changing your surroundings to encourage healthy behavior, such as setting up a workstation for the next day or setting out clothes for the morning.
4. Surround yourself with positive people
Round up your best cheerleading squad and keep them close. Invite your friends to participate in your goals as well!
The new year does not mean you have to completely change yourself and focus on what you have yet to do. Take the time to reflect on all that has brought you joy and clarity. Do something adventurous and prioritize your mental health and support system over punishing yourself. Happy New Year!
If you feel the need to reach out for help, here are some resources to guide you:
Call or text 988
Chat at 988lifeline.org
Text “HELLO” to 741741
24/7 Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline at 1-800-724-0461
Don’t feel like talking? Text SUPPORT to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741
24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
Dunkirk Mental Hygiene Clinic (716) 363-3550
Jamestown Mental Hygiene Clinic (716) 661-8330
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