Don't Reserve Resolutions for New Year's Eve

Hectic holiday season not best time for reflection, but summer is, expert suggests

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FRIDAY, Dec. 31, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Don't rush into anything you may regret on New Year's Eve by making a resolution you're not likely to honor.

Instead, consider waiting until June to make a resolution, suggests Dr. Joan Lang, chairwoman of the department of psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

"In January, we generally are so preoccupied with ending our holiday celebrations that we don't take the time to truly reflect on setting new goals," Lang said in a prepared statement.

"For some of us, the beginning of the summer is a better time for introspection and thoughtful change. We are motivated to plan something new when children get a break from school, many families take vacations and we all seem to enjoy life at the more leisurely pace that summer brings," she noted.

Fulfilling a resolution requires taking time to identify something you really want to accomplish and then working out a plan of action with specific steps that will help you achieve your goal.

"You tell yourself that you are going to reach your goal and here's how. Start mapping it out in a way that will work for you. It is essential to make plans, not just to have good intentions," Lang said.

This kind of committed planning requires energy and effort, which may be difficult to drum up as you're trying to recover from the hectic holiday season.

"If you had too good of a time and overindulged during the holidays, try to make room in your life for more sleep, healthier and lighter eating, drinking lots of water, walking in the fresh, brisk air or getting out for other exercise. Give some time to spirituality or meditation. The timing is better for these smaller lifestyle changes than making a full-blown resolution. Let making a Mid Year's resolution become a summer tradition for you," Lang said.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about resolutions.

SOURCE: Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, news release, December 2004

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