Thinking about New Year’s Resolutions often brings unwelcome guests – stress and depression – especially if the resolutions seem hard to achieve. Here are some great tips from Mental Health America to help you make 2016 resolutions.
When Change is Hard
Making a change is not easy. In fact, 60 percent of people who achieve their New Year’s resolutions flop once-or more-before succeeding.
But you can pump up your healthy habits. And the more you stick with a new behavior, the easier it gets. That’s because repetition actually can build pathways in your brain. If you’re having trouble, consider these tools for sticking with change.
Boost Your Motivation
Everyone has times when their motivation sags. Here are some tips to boost yours:
- Remember your why. What made you try this wellness tool? Was it because you wanted to be more focused at work? Less grouchy to your spouse? Less winded at the gym? Or maybe it was just because you deserve to feel good. Whatever your reasons, keep a list to inspire you.
- Make a change. If you’ve tried your chosen tool for a while and aren’t feeling better, try another. Remember, not all of the 10 Tools are right for everyone. Also consider shifting the way you use a tool to avoid boredom. For example, if you’ve chosen to help others, instead of checking on your neighbor this week, try donating to charity.
- Get support. If appropriate, join a group or work with a friend. You also can ask those around you to support your change. If you’re trying to stay positive, you might ask your kids to tell you something great about their day.
- Congratulate yourself. Success breeds success, so acknowledge yourself for any steps forward. Little rewards sometimes also work well.
At times, you may find yourself on the verge of returning to unhealthy behaviors. Tips for those times include:
- Be prepared. Some temptations can be avoided altogether with a little planning. You can pack healthy snacks to resist junk food. You can record your late-night TV show to avoid losing sleep.
- Wait it out. If you’re feeling an unhealthy urge, remind yourself that it will pass. Most urges fade pretty quickly. If yours is stubborn, try distracting yourself with something fun.
- Ask yourself about yourself. What will make you feel better about yourself later, sticking with your wellness change or dropping it?
Dealing with Setbacks
Failing is not such a big problem. How you deal with failure is often what really matters.
- Don’t give up. When you break your plan, try not to assume all is lost. It would be a shame to give up entirely just because you slipped for a few days-or even a few weeks.
- Don’t overly criticize yourself. Scolding makes you feel bad about yourself, and bad does not promote success. Instead, imagine what you’d say to a friend if she had failed.
- Think about what went wrong. Then start looking for solutions. Were you too tired at the end of the day? Try moving your activity to the morning instead. Did you feel like you didn’t have time? You might switch to one of the wellness tools that take almost no time, like staying positive. Did you put other people’s needs before yours too often? Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you may wind up too burnt out to help anyone else.
See more from Mental Health America at mentalhealthamerica.net