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How anxiety and stress can derail New Year's resolutions

Are you crushing your New Year's Resolutions or are they crushing you?

Are you crushing your New Year's Resolutions or are they crushing you?

The thought of making a positive change in your life may sound good until you try to do it.

And for some that's when stress and anxiety get in the way.

“It takes 30 days to create a good habit. So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do,” says Jonathan Schmidt about his New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. “But it only takes one day to break it.”

If trying to stick to your New Year’s resolution is already causing you unwanted stress and anxiety, you are not alone.

“Eighty percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolution,” says Dr. John Tilley, a clinical psychologist with Columbus Springs Hospitals.

The typical resolution is usually health-related such as quitting smoking, losing weight or exercising more.

“I’m just trying to go to the gym more often, so far so good,” says Mike Neely. “I’m just trying to get more consistent.”

For others, it may be getting out of debt, learning a new skill or breaking an old habit.

“I have a continuing resolution, one of those you try to do every year, to not bite my nails. I took an extra step recently by getting that polish you put on that makes the taste bad,” Nils Root said.

“My New Year’s resolution is to read at least 15 books this year,” Madyline Suba said.

Making resolutions can be a great way to improve yourself and be better in the new year. The problem is, we usually don’t stick with it.

“It’s quite simply easier for us to not do anything or to do what we’re familiar with than it is to change our lifestyle, to change our habits, to exercise self-discipline in order to orchestrate the change that we want to achieve,” says Dr. Tilley.

He said the anxiety caused by making resolutions is a big part of why we fail.

“A New Year’s resolution involves some type of change,” Dr. Tilley said. “That doesn’t happen by accident. It takes some effort, and that effort will involve change and that change can induce anxiety.”

Here are some tips to help you keep your resolutions and avoid the stress and anxiety of it all.

First, be realistic when setting your goals.

Plan ahead. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to make your resolution. Talk about it. Share your resolution with people who will support you. Track your progress and keep trying.

Follow those tips and you just may end up avoiding the anxiety and joining that 20 percent who actually keep their resolutions.