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Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

January is the time for making New Year’s resolutions, but some people struggle to be successful with them.

Every January many people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives or stop bad habits.  Some people resolve to lose weight, quit smoking or spend more time with families.  Jeanne Hansen, a mental health counselor at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains why some resolutions are not likely to be successful.

SOUND BITE:  “I think one of the things that can affect the ability to keep a resolution is setting the bar too high.  Folks that have not worked out at all have decided that within a couple of months they want to run a marathon.  And that’s not realistic for most people so with when reality sets in, then they get discouraged.  Then again, I think we can also set goals that are too vague.” 

To be successful with resolutions, it’s important to develop a plan for achieving the goals and to stay motivated.  Hansen suggests setting specific goals that are realistic, achievable and measurable. 

SOUND BITE:  “Along with the action steps and setting smaller goals to work toward that larger goal, something else that can really work is sharing your resolution and sharing your goal with somebody else.  If we can share that resolution with somebody that can be supportive of us as we try to accomplish it, then it’s a place for us to check in on a regular basis.”

Hansen encourages people to make the kinds of resolutions that are meaningful to them, which will make them more successful.   Anyone who has difficulty in achieving their health improvement goals may want to consult their primary care physician or a counselor for help.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.