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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.

“. . . Often we get very ambitious when we set our resolutions and one of the leading causes for not continuing is we have set the goal too high, too quickly.  And then can kind of fall into black or white thinking – 'I am either accomplishing it all or I am not accomplishing it at any level so I just quit and give up.'”

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.

“. . . It’s looking at setting those small goals.  For example, an ultimate long term goal is I would really like to run a marathon, then let’s start out training for a 5-K.  Let’s make small steps to get us toward that larger goal and that certainly helps.  One of the other things that seems to really help a lot is to share your resolution or goal with somebody else.”

Hansen says sharing the goal helps to make the person more accountable for achieving the goal.  She also 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 mental health counselor for help.

Ruth Slottag