5 Tips to Help You Set Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

By Allison Chase, PhD, CEDS-S
If you're guilty of making the same New Year's resolutions year after year and then feeling guilty or ashamed that you didn't follow them, you're not alone. This year resolve to create attainable solutions. Dr. Allison Chase explains how to manage healthy positive changes in a realistic way.


The New Year is supposed to be about optimism – a chance for a fresh start to change our lives for the better.


Not surprisingly, this can be a bit intimidating because we put so much pressure on ourselves. It’s not uncommon to create ridiculously high expectations and unrealistic goals that trigger nerves and anxiety, and ultimately, backfire.

If you’re guilty of making the same New Year’s resolutions year after year and then feeling guilty or ashamed that you didn’t follow them, you’re not alone. This year, resolve to create attainable solutions. Dr. Allison Chase explains how to manage healthy positive changes in a realistic way.

1. Reflect

Before even thinking about this year’s resolutions and goals, reflect on the previous year. Where did you go wrong? Where could you have done better? Don’t completely beat yourself up, but provide some constructive criticism so that you don’t make the same mistakes twice.

2. Take your time

Often, we get excited to start these goals and rush into them. It’s extremely important not to rush. Don’t expect to see all your results in January – some goals take time or even the entire year. If you put all your energy into the beginning of the year, you might lose motivation. It’s important to set realistic goals with a realistic timeline to maintain a healthy outcome.

3. Take baby steps

Break down your resolutions into smaller increments. Concentrate on one goal at a time. In a perfect world, we’d be able to achieve all our resolutions no problem, but this is difficult. Focus on eliminating one unhealthy habit at a time, then move on to the next.

4. Surround yourself with encouraging people

Health resolutions can be tedious, so find a friend that is encouraging and helpful. Having a buddy with similar goals helps keep you motivated and is fun! Maybe consider joining a group with similar interests to help give that extra push. If you’re trying to overcome mental health issues, reach out to someone who understands and can listen during those times you want to give up. And make sure to identify any triggers and completely remove them from your life!

5. Celebrate your successes

It’s okay to celebrate! Every time you achieve your goal or get one step closer to achieving your goal, reward yourself. This gives you something to look forward to and helps encourage a positive outcome.

Remember, when the going gets tough, don’t give up. Find it in yourself to stick to your resolution and remind yourself why you’ve established these goals for yourself. It’s a good idea to write down your goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year, so you can keep track of your progress. Also, it’s okay to have some setbacks along the way – that’s life!

Allison Chase, PhD, CEDS is Executive Director of Eating Recovery Center, Austin, Texas.

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Allison Chase, PhD, CEDS
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Allison Chase, PhD, CEDS-S

Allison Chase, PhD, CEDS, has been working in the field of eating disorder treatment for over 20 years. Prior to joining Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center, Austin, Dr. Chase was the Principal and Founder of AK Chase & Associates, which she established in Austin in 2003. Dr. Chase’s areas of specialization include child and adolescent mental health issues, the treatment of eating disorders, parental training and education, and family- or team-based therapy.

In addition to serving her patients, Dr. Chase enjoys helping others on a mass scale through presentations and media interviews. She offers training and ongoing education for other professionals across the U.S., as well as workshops for schools and community organizations. Dr. Chase has also taught undergraduate psychology courses at The University of Texas at Austin since 2001. Dr. Chase earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California at San Diego. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and completed residency training in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center, in both the departments of psychology and pediatrics. Dr. Chase completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Austin Child Guidance Center as well.

Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Center are accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

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