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Keep it Simple

Happy New Year’s! Speaking of which, one of the most impossible tasks commonly attempted by mankind is sticking to New Year’s resolutions. These promises we make to ourselves at the beginning of each year can even turn out to do more harm than good. Because instead of losing that weight we wanted to, that unused gym membership just hovers over our heads like a dark cloud, causing extra stress.

This New Year’s, I’m trying to think of ways to set New Year's resolutions without setting myself up for disappointment. After all, that disappointment can just lead to more stress and sadness when it’s July and I haven’t accomplished anything I wanted to.

One way to tailor New Year’s resolutions so that they are more attainable and you are more successful is to make these goals smaller. While that doesn’t sound uplifting at all—who wants to reach for smaller goals—when it comes to resolutions, it’s easier to make a few small, positive changes than one or two giant, life-changing ones.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the best way to go about New Year’s resolutions is to start small and go a little bit at a time. They say, "Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.” Instead of making huge, sweeping changes, we can make small changes that will slowly but surely improve our health.

For example, instead of trying to go to the gym or workout every single day, try working out twice or three times a week. Or, take up yoga and do it while watching T.V. or listening to the news in the morning. You don't have to drown in the sea of people trying to get fit in the new year at over-crowded gyms to improve your health. Also, instead of trying to dive into a restricting diet, which is incredibly difficult to do, swap out super sugary deserts for fruit every now and then. Replace soda or juice with water, coffee with tea, and so on.

Resolutions also don’t have to be about losing weight or changing your appearance. There are lots of other small changes you can make that will benefit you in different ways if you keep up with them. For example, making a resolution to read or write more is an excellent goal. Or, take up a hobby such as painting and make a resolution to spend a little bit of time doing that every week. Resolutions like writing or painting that are less appearance-based can be extremely healing for the soul. Think about your mind as well as your body while making resolutions.

Another healthy resolution could be to spend more time with friends you don’t see as much or strengthen ties with family members that you may be distant from. You can even tell friends and family about your resolutions. Telling others about your goals can often give you extra motivation to stick with them. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little support.

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