New Year, New Me? Tips for Maintaining New Year’s Resolutions

January 24, 2019

This is the week of Blue Monday – supposedly the most depressing day of the year, and the day when many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. Read on for Sara Samuels’ guide to making and maintaining resolutions, any time of year.

Father teaching daughter how to ride a bike in springtime in front of a canal

As we wrap up one year and begin another, some of us will make resolutions. But how do we choose one (or more)? And how do we stick to it? Some people find that even coming up with a resolution is too challenging and this deters them from setting one. I used to be one of those people. I used to get so caught up in what I thought would be a “good” resolution that I would end up not setting anything. But not anymore! Something I have found to be helpful with setting a resolution is to make it something achievable and realistic for yourself. It is also important to be specific enough so that you can follow through with it.

For example, my New Year’s resolution is to prioritize learning new things. This month, I learned how to bake bread. Another goal set is to attend yoga classes at least twice a week. The key to these resolutions is that I am doing them for myself. Your resolution should be because you want it, not because anyone else asks you to do it! If you do not feel that it is beneficial for you, you won’t want to do it. And that is a set up for “failure.” That “failure” can cause a vicious cycle of negative self-talk that is not deserved and definitely not helpful.

If you still feel stuck when trying to set a specific goal, you could use a word to be your intention instead. Pick any word as a theme for yourself and for the year. Maybe it is kindness: choosing to not only be kind to others but to be kind to yourself. Pick a theme that fits you. Part of the uniqueness of resolutions is that you have the ability and power to create your own; whatever one applies to you is the “right” one.

The first step is creating your resolution, and now that you’ve done that, the next step is maintaining it. But how do we do that? I have a few tips. For starters, make it realistic. Set yourself up for success by making your resolution something that you know you can do. Your resolution doesn’t have to be punishing or challenging, it can simply be maintaining a good habit from last year. Make it something that is important to you and get clear on what is your motivation to follow through.

Another tip I have found to be helpful is to get creative! If you chose a theme word as your resolution, stick post-its around your home to create little reminders for yourself. Draw, paint, or collage the word or a vision board and make a project out of it. Write the word down or say it out loud every morning before you start your day. Maybe it’s all of the above; maybe it’s none of the above, you decide.

But sometimes it’s not enough to just create reminders for yourself. If you’re like me, you need a little more. Finding someone or something to hold you accountable can be helpful. Maybe it’s a loved one or someone you trust that you can rely on to help you maintain the resolution. Find ways to keep yourself accountable through the people around you; relying on others can make the resolution that much more meaningful and manageable. It takes strength to ask for help.

New Year’s resolutions do not have to cause distress and difficulty. You can find joy in discovering and creating your resolution and even in maintaining it. Reward yourself for the work you have put in, it is not always easy and everyone deserves to feel praised for what they have accomplished.

If you are still struggling to create and/or maintain a New Year’s resolution or want more information, I’d love to be a part of your journey and help you discover more. Request an appointment today.