How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution

Every year in January people tend to get caught up in the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, we tend to strive for goals that are unrealistic and too broad. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and lower self-worth. Studies show that less than 20% of the New Year’s resolutions that are made, are actually achieved. It’s important for people to recognize the mistakes they have been making and more importantly, know what to do instead to give themselves the fresh start they really need.

New Year’s Resolution Mistakes:

  • They deal with absolutes, often setting people up for failure
  • They are framed by negativity, focusing on things people want to change about themselves
  • They are focused on the outcome, not the process
  • They are reliant on outside forces, frequently “luck”

How to Make Better New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Start with “approach” goals – those involving adopting a new habit, like reading more or practicing the guitar in the evenings
  • Stop making “avoidance” goals – those unconditional goals involved with quitting something like eating sweets or time spent on social media
  • Break your resolutions down into mini-goals since bite-sized targets are easier to stick with
  • Make your mini-goals fun and rewarding. You are more apt to complete a chore that you combine with pleasure, and incorporating a social component brings enjoyment and accountability.
  • Focus on positive, good things and what you can achieve.
  • Be prepared to stumble and don’t forget to forgive yourself. Chasing perfection is harmful. Instead, think about everything you’ve done and how far you’ve come and keep going.
You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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