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Keep Your 2022 New Year's Resolutions to Stay Safe and Connected

Posted by DaVinci Healthcare Expert on Jan 12, 2022 2:06:16 PM


“What the new year brings to you depends a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” -Vern McLennan.

The challenges of the past year may have had you scoffing at the idea of creating New Year’s resolutions. As we sink into the first month of 2022, it’s essential to let the challenges we’ve all faced inspire us to stay safe and connected.

Successful and sustainable resolutions come with an action plan, no matter what time of year you set them. We’re offering some specific strategies and goal-setting tips that can help you actualize and keep those goals.

do new year's resolutions really work?

Many people roll their eyes at New Year’s resolutions—often, they end up being mere words that lack tangible follow-through. However, research shows that goal-setting is highly beneficial to mental and emotional health. Forty-six percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions keep them for about six months, while 8% keep them the entire year. This might seem like a small percentage, but the same body of research found that those who set New Year’s goals are ten times more likely to keep resolutions all year long when compared to those that don’t.1

Cultures across the globe incorporate days of reflection and commitment throughout the year. For example, Jewish people practice Yom Kippur, and many Christian denominations observe Lent. These are just two of many models, and though they all vary, the idea of recognizing actions and patterns we wish to change—and resolving to be better—reflects the same principles we can use when learning how to make and comply with New Year’s resolutions.

How to make and keep new year's resolutions

Setting New Year's resolutions might seem easy to most people, but consistency and compliance are significantly more complicated. However, you can create resolutions at any time of the year! While the transition into a new year is a great start, you can always develop new goals for yourself midway through the year or even just a few weeks into January. We’ve compiled several common goal-setting pitfalls you can aim to avoid, paired with ways to maintain your resolutions throughout the new year.

avoid setting unrealistic goals

Have you ever set goals that sound like this?

“I want to eat 1,500 calories per day."

“I want to run every day."

“I want to volunteer with X organization every weekend."

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While it’s okay to set your sights high, it’s also crucial to have a realistic outlook on your goals. Start small, and make sure each goal is healthy and appropriate for your body. For example, if you don’t run at all, start by setting a goal to run three days a week instead of every day. If weight loss is a goal, make sure you are approaching it holistically and getting enough nutrition to meet your body’s needs. 

Making resolutions that take you from zero to sixty overnight is more likely to set you up for failure than slow and steady progress toward your goals.

recognize the journey as part of the goal

Humans are far from perfect. Sometimes, we fall short of our goals—especially the most lofty ones. Perhaps you set a goal to lose 40 pounds over the year yet lose only five pounds in the first two months. Or say you wanted to run five days a week but end up only running two or three. Instead of seeing this as a failure and feeling frustrated, celebrate your success and track your progress. You’re well on your way to making major improvements in your life!

set a goal, make a plan

Using this same example, let’s say you want to run five days per week. That’s great, but how will you do it? Look at your schedule and determine what you need to do to ensure you can run every day. Does this mean giving up another activity or delegating a certain chore to another family member? Sit down and schedule your runs, just like you would any other appointment, work, or social commitment.

consider your support system

Research shows that social support and how we think of our relationships can dramatically influence how successful we are in reaching goals.2

If your family or those with whom you share your daily life aren’t supportive, find other ways to receive valuable support—for example, join a walking group, or find a gym buddy, friend, neighbor, or local support group to lift you up and cheer you on.

four essential goal-setting tips

  1. Set smaller goals within your big goal
    This strategy goes hand in hand with unrealistic goal setting. Give yourself a realistic deadline, and make sure the goal itself is healthy and feasible.
  2. Don’t get discouraged
    Setbacks are not only part of working towards our goals—they’re a part of life in general. Be forgiving and gentle with yourself if you fall short or struggle to comply with your resolutions. Recognize any negative self-talk or judgments that might be holding you back, and seek professional support from a counselor or therapist if necessary. The neuroscience of goals and behavior change is complex and encompasses both will and cognition.
  3. State your goals out loud, and keep them in sight
    Whenever possible, share your goals with friends and family. This way, they can be supportive and help keep you accountable. Writing your goals down in places where you regularly see them, such as sticky notes on your mirror or a daily reminder on your phone, can also be helpful.
  4. Track your progress
    Whether your goal is diet and exercise-related, spending more time with family, reading more, or starting creative projects, tracking your progress is critical. Doing so helps you recognize patterns of success, challenges, and clearer ideas about how to move forward.

With a solid game plan for setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions, you can make sure to stay safe, connected, and healthy this year.

resolutions for connection

  • Schedule regular in-person or phone meetings with friends
  • Plan weekly family time, such as game or movie nights
  • Sit down as a family for dinner as often as possible
  • Join a local group (walking, knitting, book club, etc.), or start one
  • Find an in-person or virtual local volunteer opportunity

resolutions for prioritizing health

  • Try one new brightly colored vegetable every time you go to the grocery store
  • Stick to the perimeter of the store when you shop to eat more whole foods
  • Implement sleep hygiene for better sleep
  • Find forms of exercise that you enjoy, such as dance, hiking, or martial arts
  • Consider weight loss as one of many benefits that come from making healthy changes

final thoughts

This year, try to reframe your ideas around New Year’s resolutions and adjust your plan for making them a reality. See this transition as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and make small shifts that will keep you more connected, healthy, and happy in the year to come.

weight management

[1] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.1151

[2] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167216688205


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