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Making New Year's Resolutions That Last
Think small, manageable goals -- not sweeping lifestyle changes, psychologists advise

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

FRIDAY, Dec. 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Though made with the best of intentions, most New Year's resolutions last about as long as the bubbles in leftover champagne.

That's why experts from the American Psychological Association (APA) suggest planning manageable positive lifestyle changes for the new year instead of major life overhauls that set you up for disappointment.

"Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year -- instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 -- can help you reach whatever it is you strive for," psychologist Lynn Bufka said in an APA news release.

"Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time," she explained.

People who make realistic resolutions are more likely to keep those promises throughout the year. The APA offers some tips on how to set attainable goals:

  • Start small. Make promises that you can keep. Rather than make a resolution to exercise every day, aim to get to the gym three days a week. Instead of overhauling your entire diet, try replacing sugary treats with healthier options, like fruit.
  • Take a gradual approach. Making lifestyle changes may take time. Don't expect miracles overnight. Try replacing one unhealthy behavior at a time.
  • Don't go it alone. Talking about your resolutions and finding support can help you reach your goals. Try forming a group or take a class with others who have common goals. Having support and being able to talk about your struggles can make sticking to your resolutions less overwhelming.
  • Give yourself a break. No matter how hard people try, no one achieves perfection. Don't give up on your resolutions if you make a mistake or have a setback. Move beyond your slip-up and get back on track.
  • Ask for help. If you feel like you need help to achieve your goal, seek the support of a health care professional. Psychologists are trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can help you find strategies that will make your goals more attainable and help you cope with challenges, including unhealthy behaviors, stress and emotional issues.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more tips for a healthy new year.

SOURCE: American Psychological Association, news release

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=717975

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Goals
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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