Put a Positive Spin on Resolutions

woman celebrates new year's eve

Have you ever been told to not do something? Does your brain suddenly start to focus on doing the exact thing you were told not to do? This phenomenon happens to many – and is important to keep in mind if you plan to make resolutions for the coming year.

Often, resolutions are restrictive – focusing on what we will stop doing or do less of. As we head into a new year, we recommend setting your intentions using positive actions.

Focus on DO instead of DON'T
Instead of “eating less sugar” perhaps you want to “eat more fresh fruit”. By eating more fruit, you may find that you satisfy your craving for something sweet. And the fiber found in fresh fruit may help you feel full, leaving less opportunity for you to eat sugary desserts.

So, as you think about the coming year, we encourage you to think about the things you want to accomplish and do more of. Of course, your mind may naturally fixate on all the things you want to stop doing. If so, start there. Then, think about the replacement behaviors – what will you do instead?

As one example, say you want to stop eating dessert after dinner every night. Instead of focusing on the 'don't' behavior (i.e. don't eat dessert), can you commit to one of the following 'do' behaviors every night?

  • Eat a serving of fresh fruit with dinner
  • Take a walk around the block after dinner
  • Meditate for 10 minutes after dinner
  • Play a game with your children after dinner
  • Learn how to knit and knit for 15 minutes after dinner

Writing Positive Resolutions
If you need a few more ideas to get your imagination going, below are some examples of how to rewrite negative resolutions into positive ones.

  • "I will connect with friends and family in-person and without interruption," instead of "I will have less screen time."
  • "I will fill my plate with fresh fruits and veggies at each meal," instead of "I will eat less processed foods."
  • "I will invite my sibling to take a class or do an activity that we both love," instead of "I will stop arguing with my sibling."

Whether you make resolutions this year or not, we wish you a healthy – and positive new year!