As we are now full force into the New Year, many of us may have made a long and cumbersome list of New Year’s resolutions. As the year progresses and we leave behind the holiday season, it can be difficult to stick to those newly set goals. The American Psychological Association (APA) has made a few suggestions on how to help maintain these resolutions. First and foremost, making New Year’s resolutions should be a time for reflection and generating small achievable goals rather than drastic character changes. To maintain such goals beyond the first month of the year, the APA suggests the following steps:
-Make resolutions that you can keep. Rather than committing to do something every day, consider doing it 3 days of the week. Also consider breaking a specific project into steps rather than setting the goal to complete the whole thing. Small steps will help the goal appear more achievable and increase the likelihood that you to stick with it.
Change one behavior at a time
-Changing our habits can be more difficult than we expect it to be. Therefore, choose one behavior or habit to focus on rather than your whole way of living. For example, focus on just increasing your exercise to 3 days per week rather than trying to change your exercise, eating, and sleeping habits all at the same time.
Talk/Share about it
-Try to share and discuss your resolutions with supportive friends, family, or a support group. By sharing your experience, you can discuss when it becomes difficult and your support system can help your problem-solve and maintain accountability.
Give yourself a break
-Everyone is fallible. If you missed a workout one week or did not follow through with a goal you set for a few days, give yourself a break and don’t stop there. It is okay to make mistakes AND you can keep moving forward.
Ask for help/support
-Like sharing and talking about your goals with your support system, also consider discussing your goals with a professional, such as a therapist. Trained professionals can help you adjust your plan and support you through the process whether it be with behavioral or emotional changes.
Overall change can be challenging. However many of us try to use the New Year as an opportunity to take a step toward making those challenging changes. Consider using the above suggestions to help maintain those resolutions!
American Psychological Association. (2019). Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resolution
Author: Gabrielle Massi, M.A.