The past year was a difficult one for everyone and 2020 left many people feeling ready for a change. With 2021 fresh in our minds and on our calendars, some might be turning to New Year’s resolutions as a way to facilitate a positive lifestyle difference. However, if you’ve attempted a resolution in the past, you know that it can be difficult to make large, long term changes and in some cases striving for that goal can leave you feeling discouraged if it’s not accomplished.
This year, we’re focusing on how to tackle New Year’s Resolutions with a healthy mindset to help you achieve your goals and maintain good mental health throughout the process.
Making a Lifestyle Change
New Year’s Resolutions are a staple part of our culture every January. However, recent research has shown that of the 40% of Americans who set resolutions at the start of the year, less than half have kept up with their goals by the time six months have passed.
Maybe you want to improve your health by exercising every day or quit smoking. Perhaps you’d like to make more time for self-care or practice mindfulness more regularly. Despite the fact that our goals are often created with the idea of improving ourselves and our quality of life, they can be difficult to follow through on.
The reality is that creating any new habit takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication so even though you know your time might be better on a walk rather than sitting on the couch, it can be difficult to break an old habit. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when you’re planning your New Year’s Resolution for 2021.
Limit Your Resolutions
Have you ever decided to clean an entire room from top to bottom all in one go? You pull all of your clothes out of the closet, take everything out of the drawers to be assessed, and start cataloging every item that needs to be wiped down or dusted. Oftentimes what happens is you make it halfway through the cleaning process then take a look around and see that your room is even messier than it was before and now you’ve got more to clean than when you first started.
New Year’s resolutions can be similar. Instead of trying to eat healthier, exercise more, drink less, detach from your phone, and make more time for self-care all at once, set yourself up for success by limiting your resolutions. If you notice that your room is messy and you want to make a lasting change, that might mean making a commitment to put away the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. The same concept applies to your resolutions. Pick one goal and stick with it until it becomes a natural part of your routine so you don’t get overwhelmed and feel defeated halfway through the process.
Be Specific With Your Goal
Oftentimes goals feel difficult to achieve because there were no clear milestones or specific expectations established at the beginning. For example, a common resolution people have is to eat better. Well, what exactly does that mean and how will you know if you’re successful with your goal or not?
One way to set yourself up for success is to have a clear, concrete goal. This might mean the goal shifts from simply eating healthier to something like “At least twice a week, I will make a homemade meal that has one protein, one vegetable, and one healthy carb.” Specificity will help you track your progress and it will also help you stay motivated to work toward those two days of home cooked meals.
Break It Down
People who run marathons don’t start out their training by trying to run the whole 26 miles on the first day. Reaching that full marathon length is a process of breaking up the miles into smaller, more achievable milestones and gradually building on them every week.
Whether you’re working on a New Year’s Resolution, project for work, or any other large task, you can only complete your goal one step at a time. All of the little tasks and milestones add up to real progress over time.
Forgive Yourself for Setbacks
Regardless of the goal you’ve established for yourself, you will likely face some setbacks along your journey. Your calendar might get jammed with responsibilities, you might come down with a cold, or you might just slip up and make a mistake. That’s okay!
One day (or even a few days) of a missed goal doesn’t mean you’ve failed to achieve your overall goal and should stop working toward your resolution altogether. Take some time to reflect on how far you’ve already come since you first started your journey. Gratitude and compassion for your own progress will help to keep you motivated and help you set your sights on getting back on the horse.
Evaluate Your Mental Health
If you find that you’re having difficulty staying motivated or you’re routinely missing milestones, it might be a good time to sit down and reevaluate the resolution. Resolutions can end up feeling like an obligation hanging over your head and wreak havoc on your mental health. Be sure to check in with yourself regularly and assess how your goals are affecting your mental state and make alterations if you’re finding yourself feeling more down or frustrated than you were before.
Maybe working out five days a week simply won’t fit with your schedule, but you can make time for longer workouts on weekends to still feel like you’re making progress. Remember, your New Year’s resolutions should be designed to improve your life, not make it miserable.
By taking the time to set a clear goal, make a plan, and encourage yourself through the process, you’re much more likely to achieve your goal and feel better about yourself while doing it! The New Year is always a great time to look at routines and habits and identify places where you can make some positive changes to support a healthy mind and a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to check out our Winter Wellness catalog for more information on upcoming yoga, mediation, and art classes to help improve your mind and body in 2021.
If you are in a crisis, please call us at 303-425-0300 or by calling the crisis line at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 crisis walk-in center and withdrawal management program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.