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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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