2015 is upon us. Are you like most people and make resolutions? It can seem overwhelming when you look at all the things you want to change about yourself over the next year. But most people give up on their resolutions by midway through the year—some even as early as the end of January. This often causes anxiety and frustration. So, how can you stop yourself from getting stuck in that awful place?
- Remember New Year’s is ato time reflect on your behavior during the previous year and promise to make lifestyle changes, not sweeping character changes.
- Lynn Bufka, psychologist says, “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for. Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.” (APA.org)
- Make your goals realistic, so you will have a greater chance to keep your resolutions throughout the year.
- Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If you want to exercise more, start by scheduling 3 or 4 days at the gym, instead of 7.
- Change one behavior at a time. Just like Rome, bad behaviors weren’t built in a day—they developed over time. Therefore, replacing bad behaviors with good ones will take time. Work towards changing one behavior at a time instead of reassessing your entire life.
- Share your resolutions with family and friends. Then talk about your progress with those people. If you can, join a group that has similar goals in mind. Sharing your struggles and successes with someone makes it easier to complete your resolutions and less intimidating than facing them alone.
- Don’t beat yourself up. If you make mistakes and lapse during your resolution journey, that is okay and normal. No one is perfect. Don’t give up on your goal or yourself if you make a small error. Everyone has up and downs. Instead of staying down on yourself, resolve to recover from your mistake and get yourself back on track.
- Ask for help. Accept help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Accepting help from your loved ones will strengthen your resolve and will help you manage any anxiety you may feel while working toward your resolution. If it’s something really big, you may want to find a professional in your area to talk to. Sometimes it’s good to have a non-partisan, third-party observer be available to listen to you whenever you need support. You can even check out websites like apa.org’s Help Center for further tips.
To all of you making and working towards resolutions in the upcoming twelve months, I wish you the best of luck for a happy and healthy 2015! And hoping all your made resolutions are kept resolutions, and you are happy with you. That’s the most important resolution you could make: to be a happier you!