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The American Psychiatric Association Offers Tips for Attaining Your New Year's Resolutions

By American Psychiatric Association

January 1 is not only the start of the New Year, but is when many begin their New Year’s Resolutions. Mange stress. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Spend more time with family. Sticking to your resolutions and making changes can be difficult but not impossible. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) would like to offer tips and other resources to help families and individuals keep their resolutions for a healthy mind and healthy life.

“A new year is a great time to think about the changes we want to make in our lives. Being and staying well is a resolution many people make for the New Year, but those resolutions can lead to frustration when we find we have set unrealistic goals,” said Philip R. Muskin, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University and Chair of the APA Council on Psychosomatic Medicine. “Making a resolution to change one thing that will make us healthier is a priceless gift that only we can give to ourselves.”

Try again. Everyone has made, and broken past resolutions, that does not mean that you won’t succeed this time. Start with a positive approach, including thinking about what has disrupted your good intentions in the past. Don’t discourage yourself with a negative outlook.

Don’t make too many resolutions. Trying to eat better, exercise more, quit smoking, and reduce stress is too much to tackle at once. Pick a realistic, attainable goal with a reasonable time frame.

Choose your own resolution. Make sure this is something that you want to accomplish for yourself and not for friends or family. When you attain the goal they will benefit from your success as well.

Make a plan and write it down. Plan what you’d like to accomplish in three or six months. Achieving small goals over time gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going. Writing your goals down is a good way to keep track of your progress.

Involve friends and family. They can support your efforts, and can motivate you to keep going. Setting a personal goal is not a “promise” which can never be broken. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by overstating what can be a realistic change you plan to make.

Forgive yourself. If you get off track, don’t think that you failed. Review your plan and make adjustments.

Congratulate yourself. Reward yourself when your intermediate goals or resolutions are met.

The most important point to consider when deciding on your resolutions is to decide if you are truly willing to make the change in your life. Deciding to make the change just to have a resolution will not keep you motivated to attain your goal. Many people fail because they are afraid or don’t fully realize how the goal can benefit their every day lives. When you decide on your resolution, make a plan of action and list the ways it will improve your life. When you can see the prize, you are more likely to keep up the fight.

 

 


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