When everyone around you is spouting big New Year’s resolutions they plan to accomplish in the coming year, it can be difficult thinking about what you want to do. Here are some tips to help you write health-centered New Year's resolutions that are approachable and won't cause you unnecessary stress:

Don't wait till the last minute

If you sit down on New Year's Eve and feverishly try to write your resolutions for next year, you are not likely to pick ones that really matter or are attainable. Prevent this from happening by taking time in the weeks before the holiday to think about a possible goal. This will allow you to consider the possibilities and come up with rational, reasonable requests for yourself to work on.

Be specific

It is difficult to achieve a goal if you don't fully understand what that goal is. Instead of saying, "I want to get healthier," identify the steps you will take to achieve that goal. Say, "I want to go to the gym twice a week," or, " I want to try yoga and meditation." These goals are achievable because of their specificity. Using general goal ideas can help you come up with more specific ones, so do not write them off entirely. Using time frames and numbers, like how many times you want to try to do a new activity, is another way to approach making a more attainable goal. You can also write out a major goal and the steps along the way to provide a clear path to completing your resolution.

Use positive self-talk

Instead of saying that your health resolution is to stop smoking, look for alternative phrasing that are more approachable. Say your goal is to “try to stop" smoking instead of "quitting." This way you will be achieving your goal just by trying. Having goals that are less intimidating can help reduce your stress when you think about working towards the goal. Less pressure may lead to an increased likelihood that you will try and even complete the task.

Watch your progress

Crossing items off a to-do list is a very satisfying feeling. Turn your mental resolutions list into a chart or physical list so that you can cross items off once they're completed. Reward yourself along the way as you progress. You can even invite friends to help you celebrate as you make steps to reach your goal. It is important to acknowledge your efforts, even if you have yet to complete your resolutions.

For more on setting heart-healthy goals:

Not Active Enough? Here’s How to Get Motivated!
10 Healthy Lifestyle Changes for Those Newly Diagnosed with Heart Disease
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