Written By: Britt Young, M.A., LMFT

If you’re like most of us, making a New Year’s Resolution comes automatically—but the work to actually DO the resolution? Well, that takes a lot of work! That could be because we’re doing it all wrong.

Turns out, when we make long-term goals, such as “lose 20 pounds by December” or “improve my relationship with my husband,” our brains register these as “not urgent.” And, that means, there’s all sorts of room for error. In fact, most of us don’t keep those New Year’s Resolutions, and we tend to get discouraged from even trying, especially when we haven’t made progress. We figure, “well, if I haven’t made any progress by now, I just can’t get there.” And, we drop the resolution altogether and wait until the next January to make a new one.

One way to actually achieve your resolutions is to keep the same goals, but instead of using obtuse language and far-away completion dates, make day-to-day choices that get you there. For example, instead of narrating your resolution like, “I’ll lose 20 pounds this year,” say to yourself, “today, I’m going to eat less than 600 calories at lunch.” Better yet, “at 11:00 am, I’m going to buy a salad at Costco and
eat it outside.” The more specific you are, and the more you use real-world prompts to make a change, the better chance you have at success.

So, set yourself up for success, and substitute your long-range goals for smaller, incremental goals that are actually reachable!

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