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Approaching New Year’s resolutions to find success in 2021

Dr. Bernadette Melnyk, Ohio State’s chief wellness officer, said part of reaching your goals is to make sure they are attainable.
Credit: AP
Members work out at the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, N.J., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, after the gym's owners and members removed the wooden barriers that the state built to prevent the gym from reopening. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For many, the start of the New Year means more this year after the trials and turmoil brought on by 2020.  

10TV reached out to Dr. Bernadette Melnyk, Ohio State’s chief wellness officer and the dean of the College of Nursing to learn how we can start 2021 off strong. 

If you’re hoping to make a change in 2021, here are some tips Dr. Melnyk offered: 

  1. Consider an emotionally-charged goal. “Most people don’t change behavior unless crisis happens or their emotions change, so you have to get people emotionally motivated to make a change to do it,” Dr. Melnyk said.  
  2. Work towards your New Year’s resolutions in increments, rather than aiming to make a change for the entire year. “I tell everybody it takes 30 to 60 days to make or break a new habit,” she said.  
  3. Make your New Year’s resolutions attainable. For example, Dr. Melnyk said. “If you only exercise 10 minutes, two days a week, shoot for 15 minutes two days a week. Not five days, 30 minutes.” 
  4. Write your New Year’s resolutions down as a visual reminder. “Visual triggers can help people remember to get it done,” she said. 
  5. And finally, give yourself grace if you fall off the wagon. “Most people fall off the wagon by the end of January and then say, ‘We’ll wait ‘till next January 1st to start it again,” Dr. Melnyk said. “Fall off the wagon, get back on. Start the next day.” 

10TV wanted to hear from someone who set a goal and achieved it against the odds in 2020.  

Katy Brewer, a local bankruptcy attorney, told 10TV that she had set realistic goals that she broke up into increments for the year, such as running 50 competitive miles and reading one book each month.  

“I wanted to not have that feeling that I’ve had before of, ‘Well, I didn’t hit my goals so I’m going to be upset about it,’ so I just tried to set goals that were attainable and something that when I accomplish them I feel really good about it,” Brewer said.  

Breaking up her goals by month added a sense of accomplishment, she said. 

“In the years past I’ve said, ‘Oh, I just want to be healthier,’ and you know, things like that. But I like something a little more concrete where I can say, ‘I did my goal this month, now it’s time for a new month and a new challenge,” Brewer said.  

While some struggled to meet their goals in 2020, Brewer told 10TV that the pandemic and its side effects fueled her resolution.  

“It actually pushed me more because I’ve done a lot more running that I’ve ever done in my life this year because that’s just what I needed to keep my mental health in check and so it definitely pushed mine along, but I mean, I think anybody who set a goal for this year and didn’t meet it should give themselves a little bit of credit that they made it through this year,” she said.  

Brewer emphasized that while she felt motivated to complete her challenges, many people should feel proud of themselves for just pushing through the year.  

“If you were fortunate to make it through then you’ve already done something really wonderful,” she said. 

As for 2021, Brewer said that she is going to keep her goals realistic.  

“I’m not going to double my goal and say, ‘Okay, let’s do, you know, 24 books this year,’” she said. “I think I’m going to keep it at 15 maybe, and then through my competitive training I ran almost 1,000 miles this year so I’m going to try to do 1,000 next year and again, just kind of keep with those goals because they’re attainable and I know I can do it and we’ll see what 2022 brings in terms of increasing those goals.”