New Year's resolutions often quickly fall by the wayside

Each year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, lose weight or work on their personal relationships. By February, many of those resolutions have become distant memories.

Why are New Year’s resolutions so hard to keep?

Dr. Timothy Wolff, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says people often aren’t successful because they either set their goals too high or because they subconsciously can’t accept change.

“Change is often difficult, due to people being unaware of how ingrained certain behaviors are,” Dr. Wolff says. “In addition, people don’t like looking at their negative parts. They don’t want to feel badly about themselves.”

To help resolutions become new habits, Wolff suggests setting small goals, finding activities you enjoy that can help in attaining these goals and communicating your objectives to others, so as to be more accountable.

 “As the proverb goes: the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” Dr. Wolff says. “So, make sure the first step is doable.”

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/mentalhealth to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for mental health, including psychiatry.

Media Contact:
LaKisha Ladson

Return to February 2010 News Tips

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