Setting intentions for the New Year, whether it be for health, motherhood, marriage or even work, can be inspiring and help you reach new goals. But keeping them, of course, is the hard part. We turned to two experts, therapist Caitlyn Dunn, LCSW, and Yale Medicine orthopedic surgeon, Craig Tifford, MD, for their advice on making resolutions stick well through 2021 and beyond. Here are some of their tips:
Make Your Resolution Positive
“For example, instead of ‘I don’t want to be a pushover anymore,’ reframe it for what you do want,” says Dunn. She urges women looking to avoid people-pleasing (something most of us are prone to!) to say ‘I want to become more assertive and create better boundaries for myself.’
Make a Resolutions Partner
“Get a family member or friend who has likeminded interests and ask them to achieve the goal with you,” suggests Dr. Tifford. So make a workout partner, commit to avoid negative self-talk with your BFF, or enlist the help of a trainer or therapist and you’ll be more likely to hold yourself accountable.
Start with One Small Step
Make it into a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely) goal, says Dunn. Being specific will help you get started, by choosing one small thing to do today. So instead of saying “2020 is going to be the year I finally get healthy”, Caitlyn says to tell yourself “I want to add kale to a meal one time per week for 4 weeks.”
Show Your Progress
Another way to hold yourself accountable is to physically track your progress, says Dr. Tifford. He suggests: “Make a vision board or some other visual chart/timeline to track it.” It doesn’t have to be fancy. For instance if you’re trying to drink eight glasses of water a day, a simple checklist on your To Do list will do fine.
“Keeping your motivation up and staying on track with a goal is hard! Celebrate your successes, even small ones by treating yourself with something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution,” suggest Dunn.
Above all? According to Dunn: “Do the best you can and take one day at a time.”