New Year’s Resolutions

During the month of December, many people begin to reflect on their year and think about the new goals they want to set in order to be their best self for the upcoming year. While this is a great tradition and self improvement is a positive thing, it is easy to get carried away. Setting overwhelming or unrealistic goals is only going to increase stress and anxiety and leave you feeling discouraged. That is why we have collected the best tips for creating New Year’s resolutions from WELCOA and the American Psychological Association.

First: Change Your Perception

Stella Grizont, MAPP, is the founder of WOOPAAH, a company that designs happiness and play experiences for individuals and organizations. In her article for WELCOA, she gives three tips on changing your attitude towards New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Focus on Feeling. Setting a goal without first stating the “why” behind the goal, can leave you feeling empty or underwhelmed when you actually accomplish it. So before setting any goals, think about how you want to feel or what you want to be in 2019. For example, instead of saying “I need to go to the gym at least 4 times a week,” state your goal as “I want to feel more energized and vital.” This will help you not only stick to your goal, but you will focus on the positive feeling of your goal throughout the whole year!
  2. Avoid “I Should.” Beginning your goals with “I should go to the gym more,” “I should eat healthier,” or anything that contains “I should…” is just another form of self-critism and it will create a negative connotation with your goals. To avoid this, first test out your goal in your imagination. Ask your self what would happen if you followed through with a goal. Would you feel happier or more free? Or do you feel yourself resisting? Sometimes you might not feel anything at all! Avoid the goals that you respond negatively to, and focus on the ones you have a positive reaction to. This will make you want to complete your goal and will keep you feeling motivated.
  3. Be Aware of Your Motivation. This is a very important step to changing your attitude towards New Year’s resolutions. What is motivating you to change? Do you feel obligated or expected to change? Or maybe you are feeling pressure from social media. Whatever your motivation is, remember to set goals based on your heart. Intrinsic motivation means the cause to do something comes from within, it’s your own organic interest and desire. This is always the best motivation to build goals around!

Second: Set Your Goals

Keeping the above tips in mind, here are tips for creating your New Year’s resolutions from the American Psychological Association:

  1. Start Small: “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD. If your goal is to feel more energized and vital, strive to exercise 3-4 days a week, rather 7. After several weeks of reaching your 3-4 days of exercise goal, you will feel accomplished and motivated to move forward.
  2. Change One Behavior at a Time: Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones does take time. Research shows it can take anywhere from 2-8 months for a behavior to become a habit. Don’t let that overwhelm you, though. What is important is that you recognize a lifestyle change needs to be made and you are working towards it, one day at a time.
  3. Talk About It: Tell your family and friends about your New Year’s Resolutions. This not only makes you more accountable for your goals, but it also gives you a support system. You could even consider joining a support group. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.

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