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New Year, New You: How to Make and Keep Your Resolutions

Happy New Year from Main St. Psychiatry! Right now, many people are focused on the changes they want to make in their lives for 2019. While for many this will involve physical health improvement such as developing an exercise routine and/or eating healthier, it is important to include mental health care and improvement in your list of resolutions. Some ideas for resolutions related to your mental health include expressing more gratitude, keeping a journal to process thoughts and feelings, and/or increasing overall motivation and self-esteem.

Now here comes the hard part: how to keep the resolution. It is more than likely that we have all experienced the excitement of a new resolution in January, only to see it fade quickly and disappear by February. However, there are ways to prevent this phenomenon and build positive habits through resolutions. First, you need to set small, concrete goals that are manageable and achievable. Remember to be specific in the ways you want to change, such as saying “I want to work out for at least 30 minutes, three times a week” rather than “I need to get more exercise”.

Cue yourself to stick to your resolutions by placing reminders in obvious places, such as setting an alarm on your phone for a desired activity, or even just a positive phrase to keep you motivated throughout the day. Also, instead of focusing on the behavior that you want to stop, such as eating unhealthy food, ensure that you are replacing it with something that you can turn to when the craving hits. For example, in order to cut out salty snacking, be ready to replace the potato chips with almonds when the craving inevitably hits you.

Resolutions are about using the new year as motivation to make the changes we all know we need to make. You are writing a new story, turning yourself into the healthier, more positive person you really want to be. It is not easy, but you can build motivation and commitment by being realistic and positive in the way you describe your resolutions. Instead of focusing on the things you want to eliminate, focus on the positive ways this will change your narrative. Write down who you want to be rather than who you don’t want to be, and then find the support to stick to this new story of your life.

Need help sticking to your resolutions, or becoming healthier mentally as well as physically? Give Main St. Psychiatry a call when you are ready to take care of your whole self and focus on a healthy and happy 2019.

Original material found at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-wise/201812/the-science-creating-new-years-resolutions-work