A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Make your New Year’s health resolution stick: 6 tips for success

Two friends working out together - Tips for New Year's resolution success

Work toward your resolution with a coworker, friend or significant other to avoid slacking and review successes.

Each year comes and goes.

Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions can do the same and without much success.

Marshfield Clinic Health System psychiatrist Dr. Alison Jones gives six tips for making this year’s resolution stick.

1. Remind yourself resolutions are good.

It can be easy to see New Year’s resolutions as negative additions to your already hectic life. Jones says this thinking is off.

“Resolutions are good things,” she said. “It’s helpful and healthy to review the previous year and then determine how to improve in the upcoming year.”

2. Double-check and ask yourself, “Is my resolution SMART?”

There’s an acronym helpful for goal setting that you can apply when setting your resolution: Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – Timely (SMART).

“It’s important your New Year’s resolution is reasonable and achievable,” Jones said. “You only set yourself up for failure when it’s simply too difficult to accomplish.”

3. Less is more.

Fewer resolutions increase the rate for success.

“All of us struggle with eating right, time management, healthy weight – the list could go on and on,” Jones said. “If we can select just one or two that mean the most to our self-improvement, we are more likely to succeed.”

4. Take a step-by-step approach.

Break out your New Year’s resolution into smaller chunks.

“Before running a marathon, you need to know how to walk fast and then you can begin to run regularly,” Jones said. “Work out smaller steps along the way to accomplish the larger goal.”

5. Teach yourself it’s not all or nothing.

“Fortunately, we have second and third chances,” she said. “We can repeat the same goals, or parts of the same goals, with much better success the next year.”

It’s human nature to be easily discouraged. Don’t let this stop you.

6. Use the buddy system.

Work toward your resolution with a coworker, friend or significant other. Even if they have a different resolution, inform them of yours and ask them to regularly check in on your progress.

“Witnesses hold you accountable,” Jones said. “If you have a buddy, you can check on each other and review successes. It’s easier to avoid slacking with this system.”

Late-start resolution ideas

Haven’t started a New Year’s resolution? It’s not too late. Start with one of these Shine365 ideas:

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