Declared “New year, new me” on New Year’s Eve? Our resident psychologist has 4 tips to make sure you keep to your new habits this coming year.

For many people, shouting “Happy New Year!” on New Year’s Day is a way of making a fresh start, taking stock of the old year and looking forward to what they will achieve in the new year. With that often comes the idea of “new year, new me” and a list of New Year’s resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions are often about new beginnings, trying new things and new ideas. However, resident psychologist Collett Smart prefers to go down to the core of the matter, simply seeing it as “setting positive new goals in our lives”.

In the video below Collett talks about the 4 ways we can start the new year well.

“I prefer the term ‘goals’ because we can actually set goals at any point in the year,” says Collett. “Goals keep us moving forward. They require us to act and to do something and they inspire us to grow as human beings.”

Read: 20 life-changing tips every working mum needs to try 

Want to know the 4 ways to make new year resolutions stick? Here are Collett’s tips:

1. Focus on developing positive habits

New year resolutions or goals are all about transforming us into better versions of ourselves. By setting positive habits as our goals for the year, we develop new neural pathways in our brain. This means when we’re going through a tough time, these new habits or ways of thinking become our default or fallback.

2. Keep them realistic

Consider the stage of life you’re at and what kind of time frame you can commit to. Just as a new year marks a new chapter in your life, you should also give your goals a fresh start. You don’t necessarily have to stick to last year’s list because your goals will change as your circumstances change.

3. Make small changes

It can be tempting to make grand, sweeping goals like wanting to be the best version of yourself or live the best life ever. “When we set lofty goals, we will fall off the wagon and we will fail,” Collett warns.

To avoid the trap of having “false hope syndrome”, Collett suggests including tiny steps in whatever goals you set and aiming for those instead.

4. Stay kind to yourself

This is especially true when we fall off a goal or it doesn’t go quite as well as we had hoped. “The point about goals is growing as a human being,” Collett says. This means simply taking tiny steps towards what you want to achieve because “one tiny step means growth”.

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