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Revolutionizing New Year’s Resolutions

Similar to years past, the most popular resolutions for 2021 were to exercise more, eat better, lose weight, and save money. But, for many, these resolutions dwindle as quickly as they’re made. Is there a secret to making them stick?

Read on to learn more about goal setting and advice for a fresh take on resolutions.

What is the best overall approach to resolutions or any goal?

A good approach is to make goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited.

For example, someone may say, ‘I’ll get healthy in 2022,’ which is too vague.

To make this a SMART goal, you would apply specifics, such as ‘eat a salad for lunch 3 days a week.’ You’d make it measurable; for example, ‘reduce soda intake by 1 can a week until I eliminate soda.’ Making the goal achievable is also important. Don’t commit to losing 60 pounds in 2 months. Instead, work with a physician to set a sensible goal.

Finally, time-limited means that you can adjust your goals. Perhaps in February, you swap out that exercise goal for learning to swim at the local pool. By March you’re swimming 3 times a week. By April, you have a new exercise goal.

What’s a way to stay on track?

Reward yourself when you meet a goal. It might be something as simple as treating yourself to a pedicure or a special meal if you hit your goal for 4 consecutive weeks. The truth is, humans like rewards and praise, and we can do these for ourselves.

What are some alternative resolutions?

Consider a goal that benefits others. For example, regularly express gratitude to family members, teachers, colleagues, or community members by sending a card to someone every 2 weeks. Studies show that giving and receiving expressions of gratitude results in the release of 2 neurotransmitters — dopamine and serotonin — that make us feel happy.

For 2022, set resolutions knowing that our environment is stressful right now. Think of intentional, doable goals that enhance your happiness and quality of life.

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