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The Healthy Way to do New Year’s Resolutions

Setting New Year’s resolutions is a tradition for many folks, and lots of resolutions revolve around health. But just because a New Year’s resolution sounds like a good health goal, your approach to achieving it may not be!

The truth is, many people get burned out on their New Year’s resolutions by spring, simply because they have an unhealthy approach. Most likely, any resolution that makes you feel obsessive, stressed, or desperate isn’t going to work – and if it does, it may come at a cost. There’s a much healthier way to approach New Year’s resolutions.

No matter what your goal is for 2022, these four tips can help you approach it in a much healthier manner.

Focus on Improvement, Not Perfection

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, one of the most common setups for failure is a goal that requires all-or-nothing change – like to quit smoking cold turkey, or to log 20 miles a day after not riding a bike for a decade. Not only can this be mentally exhausting, but making massive changes in diet and physical exertion can also be unhealthy.

Instead of making sudden and drastic lifestyle changes, try making more measured steps toward a goal. Start small and set up a plan that sees graduated improvement over time.

Find Multiple Ways to Succeed

Another key to tackling New Year’s resolutions in a healthy manner is to have multiple ways to accomplish your goal. Not only does this keep you mentally stimulated, but it also saves you putting all your eggs in one basket and quitting when that option isn’t available.

For example, if your goal is to walk 1 mile every day, what’s your backup plan for rainy weather? Having a mall or gym nearby where you can get in your steps will save a lot of stress when Plan A just isn’t feasible.

Set a Goal, but Don’t Make It the End-All-Be-All

Goals are great, because they allow you to measure your progress and work towards something specific. However, don’t let that goal define your success entirely. There are so many roadblocks and unexpected detours that can happen in life – even when you have a clear-cut plan for success.

For example, you may be well on your way to training for a marathon when a knee injury requires you to cut back and rest. Just because you don’t accomplish a specific goal (running a marathon), or you need to postpone it, doesn’t mean your New Year’s resolution has been a complete failure. Don’t let an unaccomplished goal get in the way of recognizing your other achievements – running more miles, getting in shape, sticking to a training schedule, etc.

Check In with Yourself

Even the most well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions are worthless if they make you feel miserable, unlike yourself, or exhausted in the long run. Be sure to check in with yourself regularly and evaluate how your resolution is making you feel, what you think you’ve achieved, and the risk/reward of continuing. Maybe it turns out that you absolutely hate running, but you don’t mind swimming. If the goal is to be more active, just switch up your game plan! There’s no rule that says you can’t modify your resolution mid-June!

As the year comes to a close, keep these tips in mind so you can approach your New Year’s resolutions in a much healthier manner. Happy New Year!

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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