Science-backed tips for selecting worthwhile resolutions & making them stick

~ By The Mental Health Center of Denver’s Healthy Living Team ~

A New Year, a new you? An estimated 45 percent of Americans, including seniors, make New Year’s resolutions. But only eight percent of those who make resolutions report success in achieving them. To help you reach your goals, the most important step is to consider what type of resolution to make.

At the Mental Health Center of Denver, we help people improve their well-being. Science-backed research indicates cultivating gratitude, volunteering your time and talents, making time for hobbies and play, smiling more often and meditating are all proven ways to boost happiness. If you’re hoping to be happier in 2016, consider resolutions that support these habits.

No matter what goals you set, there are also a few proven tips to help keep you on track. These include:

Make fewer resolutions. You’re much more likely to succeed with a single resolution than with several. And, the simpler and more specific the resolution, the easier it is to keep. For example, rather than vowing to “get in shape,” instead make it a goal to walk one mile, three times per week.

Be realistic. Achievable goals are easier to keep. Instead of vowing to cut your living expenses by 50 percent, aim for a more realistic goal of ten percent.

Small steps can help you achieve success. Set smaller milestones and celebrate them. For every month you stick to your resolution, celebrate.

Make it a goal you truly want to achieve. Set goals that you want to achieve not what your family or friends think is best for you.

Cultivate support. Don’t overlook the importance of enlisting the support of others to help you along your way. Tell them of your intent. This will increase your sense of responsibility and bolster your chance of success.

New Year’s resolutions can help kick start a healthier and happier year. Whether you partake in this tradition or not, we hope your well-being and happiness improves in the new year. A therapist can also help you improve your well-being if you are overwhelmed or depressed. Talk with your physician if you think you could benefit from professional guidance.

The Mental Health Center of Denver provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, housing, educational and employment and prevention services. Last year, the Mental Health Center of Denver provided services to 45,000 children, families and adults in Denver. For more information, visit

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