Goals, not resolutions, can help achieve success


As we wind down 2021, people across the country are starting to think about their plans for next year. This usually involves setting New Year’s resolutions.

According to Merriam-Webster, New Year’s resolutions have been around since the turn of the 19th century – and possibly as far back as the late 17th century. However, even then, these resolutions were generally violated. In fact, numerous studies suggest that only about 8% of people stick to their New Years Resolutions each year, and the majority of those resolutions are superficial and involve diet, exercise, and weight loss. .


Derick Johnson, a psychiatric APRN at OSF HealthCare, suggests setting goals rather than resolutions – and perhaps rethinking the way you see them.

“New Year’s resolutions are usually stressful for people because they have unrealistic expectations for a calendar year. Most of the time, resolution should be based on gradual improvement in one area, rather than trying to predict or forecast a full year of improvement in one aspect of your life, ”says Johnson.

A lot of people get the idea of ​​”freshening up in January” with diet and exercise plans, believing that losing weight should be their main goal, especially after the holiday season. However, the majority of these people give up in February. In turn, this causes stress as people feel like they have failed and can even cause people to not only give up on their original goal, but to avoid exercise and healthy eating altogether, which only hinders more their original goal.

For this reason, and because it tends to happen with many “resolutions,” Johnson mentions that mental health is an important aspect of your overall well-being and that mental health should be a priority not just at the start of your life. the year, but the year -turn.

Mental health is often overlooked when setting New Year’s resolutions, but improving from a mental health standpoint can help improve your physical health as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, and help determine how we deal with stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

“Strive to improve mental health, physical health, emotional health, and just complete well-being. This should be the goal every year, and it shouldn’t take a calendar year to force yourself to understand what are your shortcomings in some aspect of your life. It’s a constant work in progress. Life is constant work – and it just doesn’t start on January 1, “advises Johnson.

The American Psychological Association recommends starting small, changing one behavior at a time, talking about it with others, and seeking help if needed. Johnson adds that because there is no set timeframe for improving, there are slippages and bumps in the road to be expected. A journal is a great way to assess where you are now and where you want to be. Then you can set small goals for each day, week, or month.

Johnson recommends thinking about where you really want to improve or what you would like to spend more time doing. The goals you set for yourself can then include things like setting aside time for mindfulness, reading, gardening, or whatever brings you joy. Some people may even choose to seek out a therapist who is right for them because you don’t have to wait for a seizure to start therapy. In fact, many people use therapy as a tool to grow and improve as a person. Most importantly, take the New Years one day at a time.

“It’s hard to reach a goal if you continually fail. You have to reach a place where you can say “OK I have accomplished this and now I can move on to something closer to the long term goal”. Definitely smaller short-term goals or smaller incremental success are therefore the best ways to successfully achieve any goal, ”says Johnson.

Overall, Johnson says the “goal” to always keep in mind is to end the year better than you started.

Johnson adds: “When I tell people in general about New Years Resolutions, I think the best resolutions you can have is to leave 2022 in a better person.”


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