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Planning on a New Year’s resolution? Tips from a psychologist on how to make them practical – WTOP News


“It’s a double edged sword,” said Dr. Petros Levounis, president of the American Psychological Association.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and for some people that means it’s also the last day before resolutions for the upcoming year kick off. But are you being fair with yourself? A psychologist shared tips with WTOP on how to make practical, lasting resolutions.

“It’s a double edged sword,” said Dr. Petros Levounis, president of the American Psychological Association.

He said when you’re making New Year’s resolutions, you should be realistic and fair to yourself. That helps make the goals something you can stick to.

“The flip side of New Year’s resolutions is that they may push us in the direction of perfectionism,” he said.

Start with short, manageable goals and not try to commit to the whole year right from the beginning of 2024, Levounis said. That way, you can alter your goals without the disappointment.

“If you don’t fulfill them to the T, so be it,” he said. “Cut yourself some slack.”

These promises to yourself can be good things — but only if you keep them realistic.

“Having a New Year’s resolution is a good thing, because it’s organized and it puts a goal ahead,” he said. “Short-term goals are more effective than long-term goals.”

People often make getting or staying in shape a big goal for the new year. He said that’s fine as long as you start out with something manageable.

“‘I’m going to … the gym seven days a week and spend three hours every day at the gym’ … that’s not going to happen. And then you feel like a failure. You feel like you let yourself down,” he said.

He said it’s a lot easier to extend a goal than it is to keep something that’s not realistic.

“So start with the reasonable goals,” he said.

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