Every new year, people all over the country decide to create a list of how they want to live a slightly different life once January hits. Common resolutions involve eating healthier, going outside more, being more connected to their faith, or being on social media less. Each year we have high hopes that if we can just do these few things, we’ll feel better and be a happier, healthier version of ourselves.
However, a few weeks or months into the new year, so many of our resolutions go out the window. This can be due to a few different factors. We may have set too high of a standard, such as losing substantial weight, and we get discouraged when we don’t see the progress we crave. We also may have attempted too drastic of a change which can be difficult to stick with and leads to giving up the change we wanted.
Switching your perspective and starting small can lead to greater success in these resolutions. You can start by thinking about what is important in life for your health and enjoyment. Perhaps reading is a better way to calm down at the end of the night as opposed to Netflix, or maybe going out on a walk after work helps you to de-stress and switch gears into family life. Thinking about which small changes could have a big impact on your well-being and engaging in those once a week can be a great way to make small resolutions that stick. Once you have a new habit that works for you, increasing the frequency slowly can lead to the larger change that most people want with resolutions.
Some resolutions may need the support of friends, peer groups, or even professionals. If you’re wanting to work on a health goal, reaching out to your doctor and getting a check up before you make a major change is always advised. This remains true for major mental health goals. If you’re wanting to work on your anxiety, process grief, work on emotional regulation, or any other major issue that you’re facing, you may want to seek professional assistance or a support group to help with this change. Sometimes picking up a book or talking with a friend is immensely helpful, but if this ever leads you to a place where you feel stuck or overwhelmed, reaching out for support may be the next right step in keeping the resolution to work on your mental health.
Having goals and wanting to become a happier and healthier version of ourselves is always admirable, just remember to start small for a greater chance of success and reach out for support if you need it.
This blog was written by Sarah Carter, Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor #6982. Sarah is supervised by Brent Robbery, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #100423