Friday, December 29, 2017

Oh, Those New Year Resolutions!

Well, we are getting ready to wrap up the year 2017, and with the New Year come new resolutions. In a recent survey, only 32 percent of people said they weren't planning on making New Year's resolutions — meaning most people do plan to set themselves new goals for the coming 12 months. According to the same survey, these were the top resolutions:

  • Eat better
  • Exercise more
  • Spend less money
  • Self-care (e.g. getting more sleep)
  • Read more books
  • Learn a new skill
  • Get a new job
  • Make new friends
  • New hobby
  • Focus more on appearance
  • Focus on relationship
  • Cut down on cigarettes/alcohol
  • Go on more dates
  • Focus less on appearance

While resolutions are a good thing, too often we start strong, but falter after a few days or weeks. Here are some tips to help you keep on track for the long haul.


1. Start small. Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.


2. Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.


3. Talk about it. Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of coworkers quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.


4. Don’t beat yourself up. Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.


5. Ask for support. Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.


Here’s to a Happy, Healthy and Productive New Year!  - Riley



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