With the New Year having just passed, many of us are in resolution setting mode. Resolutions and goals for 2018 are a great way to keep us accountable and strive for something that we want to accomplish in the next year. However, it seems like almost everyone ditches their resolutions by February or March. How can you stick to your resolution this year? As your Manhattan Beach therapist, I do recommend setting specific goals or resolutions, especially at the beginning of each year. That being said, I always emphasize the importance of creating reasonable and doable goals with my clients; these are the types of resolutions we can actually stick to. I encourage my clients to start small and stay consistent, within reason. Intense or extreme goals can quickly become overwhelming and soon be forgotten. We do not want this to happen. Setting reasonable, small goals that can be achieved is more effective and it’s good for your psychological well-being. As humans, we like to work towards something. A goal can motivate us to work a little more or a little extra each week to accomplish something that is important to us. These goals will give us a mental, physical, or emotional challenge, pushing us to strive for something we care about. Let’s now discuss which New Year’s resolutions are actually attainable and something you can stick to!
Many people strive to lose weight and become more healthy for their New Year’s resolution. Of course, becoming more healthy is an excellent goal, one that I highly recommend. Unfortunately, many people, including myself, set an unreachable goal, quickly become discouraged, and then stop trying all together. I recommend changing your health outlook in a way that is specific to you and your life. For example, if you choose to not eat any carbohydrates as your New Year’s resolution, it may not be the most realistic goal to stick with throughout the year. Instead, I suggest making small, subtle changes, to alter your overall health in a more positive and consistent way. Small changes may include: integrating more green vegetables into your weekly meals, eating less carbohydrates (but not cutting them out completely), stop drinking soda or alcohol during the weekdays, or drinking one more glass of water per day than you normally would. All of these suggestions are reasonable goals, that you can quickly integrate into your daily life. These examples will impact your health throughout the year without becoming overwhelming or discouraging.
Cooking and preparing your own meals is a perfect New Year’s resolution. It is attainable and it has many benefits! Currently, if you do not prepare any of your own meals, I recommend starting slow. Start by preparing a small number of dinners each week, three for example. Then, throughout the year, increase this number as you become more comfortable cooking for yourself. Cooking at home has a number of benefits for both your physical health and mental health. By preparing your own meals, you will know every single ingredient that is in the meal. In turn, cooking is a healthier option than buying food out or ordering food in. Cooking can also be used as a stress reliever and decrease anxiety levels.
At some point or another, we are all guilty of having too much clutter or living with disorganization. We can all be better at this. At the beginning of each year, I enjoy (and suggest to my clients) cleaning out the clutter in my home. This means going through my closets and drawers and ridding my life of things that I do not use anymore. Donating or giving away things that you no longer use is quite a cleansing process. You can free your life of non-necessities, and make more space that may be necessary in the future. I also recommend cleaning or organizing your office. You will find that your productivity rises when you’re not working in a space that is cluttered.
Technology surrounds us in almost every aspect of our lives, which can certainly be overwhelming. With the start of the New Year, I tell all my clients to choose one time per day to unplug from all technology. The amount of time will vary per person. I recommend starting with one hour. One hour free of cell phone, computer, and television use. Instead, you can use this time to cook, be present with family or friends, or take a walk by yourself. This is a small daily change you can make to benefit your psychological and mental health.
Volunteering or offering your time to a good cause will benefit those in need and also benefit you! You will feel like you have done something special for someone else, which will increase endorphins and release stress. Giving your time does not mean a weekly or monthly commitment. This New Year’s resolution can be small as well. Dedicate one Saturday every couple of months to a volunteer organization you care about or a couple hours at a soup kitchen once a month. Your commitment does not need to be enormous. As with all the goals for 2018, start small and reasonable. Giving your time to an organization that you are passionate about also means you will enjoy doing it. It will be a win-win situation!
New Year’s resolutions are a great way to start planning for the next year. Together, we can decide attainable goals for you and how to stick to each goal. As your Manhattan Beach therapist, I’m here to help you successfully accomplish your 2018 goals. Please call to set up an initial appointment and get this year off to a good start!