Keeping New Year’s Resolutions Realistic Helps Mental Health

The New Year is just around the corner, and that means plenty of New Year’s resolutions to go around. A lot of people will set lofty goals to achieve in 2019, but Dr. Jim Salasek points out that not all of those plans need to be earth-shattering changes. 

Salasek is a mental health expert – and he tells us “up to four out of five people who make a resolution never carry through. So by the end of the year, it’s completely on the back burner and then if we’re the type to decide ‘oh well I’m going to reflect on my life for the last year’ and you realize that, you start getting down on yourself. ‘Why didn’t I do this? I was a failure’ – it can contribute to depression, it can contribute to anxiety.”

Salasek says many people struggle keeping their resolutions intact.

But he points out that those issues often arise because “they set these unrealistic goals that no one is going to be able to achieve and then they wonder why they’ve given up on it after just a short period of time. Well, what you can do is revamp the goal, rewrite the goal – don’t give up on it completely, just tweak it so it’s in measurable steps.”

If you’re trying to set a New Year’s resolution, Salasek recommends keeping it simple. 

He suggests that everyone “pick one that’s meaningful for you. Don’t pick more than five. Look at time constraints and resources that are going to be called for because you don’t want to be doing two things at the same time. So if you want to have more time with the children and you want to cook more, you can’t be doing both of those unless you incorporate a time where the children are helping you cook.”

He tells us it helps to write down your resolutions and keeping them realistic. But he says there are other ways to make sure you stick to the goals you set. 

He says “it’s even more important to share it with at least one other person you have in your circle of confidence. Because if you’re sharing with someone you have confidence in, that’s a close friend of yours – they can ask you, they can check in every once in a while and not be judgmental. Just asking – and again, it’s out there in the world, somebody else knows about this and they can support you.”