Mental Health, Relapse

The Best Tip for Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Making New Year's Resolutions Stick

Most of us come up with admirable goals for the new year, but actually making New Year’s resolutions stick tends to be a lot easier said than done.

Change is hard; big change is even harder. No matter how good your intentions are, it’s normal for life to get in the way and for your motivation, time, and energy to shift to other things. But that doesn’t minimize the importance of setting goals in life, nor does it speak to your ability to bring about true, positive improvements. It just means you have to adjust your approach.

The secret to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions: ditch the grand goals and focus on smaller and more manageable changes instead. This simple swap can make all the difference when it comes to your likelihood of success and could be just the thing you need to sustain long-lasting positive outcomes.

Below, we’re delving deeper into the importance of achieving goals and why smaller is better if you really want to bring about change in your life.

Recognizing the Importance of Achieving Goals

People talk a lot about the importance of setting goals in life, but less so about the importance of achieving goals you set out. It makes sense. The bigger the goals we set, the more we think we’ll have achieved at the end. But how we get to the finish line is just as important as the finish line itself.

The types of goals we set around the new year often fall into the trap of over-ambition. Think: this year, I’m going to get fit, be less anxious, save lots of money, make more friends, etc. By being so broad, you set yourself up to feel like a failure if you fall short. You also put yourself into an all-or-nothing situation that can easily lead to discouragement. The more difficult your goal is to achieve, the more likely you are to lose motivation, confidence, and interest over time.

By switching up your framework and focusing on more realistic goals, you get to celebrate achievement at smaller intervals. That means more success, plus more opportunities to build confidence as you work your way to bigger and more ambitious milestones.

Break Down Resolutions Into Smaller Tasks to Enact Real Change

Making lofty changes sounds good in theory. However, it’s incredibly hard to put into practice since humans are creatures of habit with well-established routines that are resistant to disruption, regardless of how much you might want to.

When you swap out grand resolutions for goals that are more manageable, you get all the benefits of goal-setting without the hurdles that come with setting the bar too high. These benefits include:

  • Increased motivation
  • Higher likelihood of success
  • Sustained positive changes

So, while it’s okay to have long-term goals, it’s rarely useful to think so far ahead. Instead, you want to break down your goals into clear and concise short-term achievements, which, when added all together, will take you closer to where you eventually want to end up.

Strategies for Setting More Realistic Goals

Now that you know the importance of setting attainable goals, let’s talk about how to do it.

  1. Make sure it’s sensible – You want to set goals that are achievable in your current circumstances. For example, if you want to save money, aim for an amount that makes sense with your current income, debt, and financial responsibilities rather than what just sounds good on paper.
  2. Create a step-by-step action plan – Break your goal down into small steps. If you want to be less anxious, that may mean starting a journaling habit, scheduling an appointment with a counselor, and limiting the amount of time you spend on social media – all of which can be instrumental in achieving that ultimate ambition.
  3. Incorporate accountability – Tell others about your goals and the steps you’ll be taking to make them happen. You’ll be less likely to give up when things get hard, and you’ll also have a built-in support system cheering you on from the sidelines.

Ready to Take That First Step?

When you shift your approach to New Year’s resolutions and focus on small changes with big impacts, you set yourself up for success now and in the future.

That being said, some goals require a bit of additional support. Retreat’s Synergy Health Programs offers comprehensive mental health services that help you navigate your way to a healthier, happier you. Please contact us to learn about our treatment programs, and let’s work together to make the changes that you want to see in the new year.

January 30th, 2024