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By Nancy McDonald—
It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s Resolutions is longer than your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post- holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions by February, March or even late January may increase your anxiety. When your holiday decorations are packed up and stored away, the frustration of an unused gym membership or other reminders of failed resolutions can make the later winter months feel hopeless.
According to the American Phycological Association, it is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes by setting small, attainable goals.
By making your realistic resolutions, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year.
APA offers these tips when thinking about a News Year’s resolution:
Start small – Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt.
Change one behavior
at a time – Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time thus, changing them requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.
Talk about it – Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of coworkers quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.
Don’t beat yourself up – Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
The act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time is more important than the extent of the change.