Mental Health

How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions


I’ve made a New Year’s resolution every year. From “hit the gym more” to “stop slouching at my desk” to “avoid that bowl of peanut M&Ms in the office,” my resolutions have run the gamut. This year, I’ve resolved to be more mindful: be more mindful of what my body and mind need to function and feel good, and to be more mindful of how I use my time every day. This definitely isn’t a small resolution, and it’s going take a lot of dedication on my part to ensure that I’m actively making choices that are good for me.

I’ve always had a hard time sticking to my resolutions for more than a few weeks before I slide back into old habits, and I know I’m not the only one with that problem. So, I compiled a few tips that I’ve been putting into practice so far this year: 

  1. Make sure your resolution is specific. “Be more mindful” sounds like a great resolution, but it’s still pretty nebulous, right? Because of that, I’ve broken it down into smaller, more manageable action items. To be more mindful of my body and mind in order to feel good, I’m concentrating on eating whole foods and moving more. And, to be more mindful of how I use my time, I’m making daily checklists for myself so I stay focused on what’s important and what needs to get done.
  2. Set yourself up for success. Absolutes are hard to stick to (“I’m cutting out dessert” and “I’m not buying any new clothes” are a few of the resolutions I decided against for this year), and just aren’t realistic goals. Instead of restricting myself 100%, I am trying to make allowances for special occasions so I’m more likely to stick with and succeed at my goals.
  3. Take things one step at a time. Find the smaller components of your resolution, and start adding them into your daily routine one by one. I’m starting with an easy one: making sure I’m eating fruits and vegetables every day. In a few weeks, I’m going to add in those daily to-do lists so I’m more mindful of how I use my time (and so I’m less likely to waste time sprawled on the couch, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram).
  4. Pencil it in. Do you often find yourself just plain forgetting to stick to your resolution? It can be hard for things to stay top-of-mind when there’s always so much on my plate, so I am now physically writing my actionable goals into my calendar, and then setting reminders in my phone for myself.
  5. Assemble a support system. I’ve found that without others to keep me accountable, it’s all too easy to just keep doing what’s easy. So, I am enlisting others to help keep me on track, whether it’s going on a weekly walk around the park with a friend and our kids, or sharing my to-do list with my husband.

What’s your resolution this year, and how are you planning to stick to it? 

Kristina Schiller is the Director of Digital Marketing & Engagement at Sheppard Pratt. She holds a B.A. in psychology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and a M.S. in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.