Expert advice on making (and keeping) resolutions

Stephanie Staples advises students to make resolutions that can help decrease stress. THE PROJECTOR/ Emily Enns

Stephanie Staples advises students to make resolutions that can help decrease
stress. THE PROJECTOR/ Emily Enns

The ball drops, fireworks go off and people kiss. The next day, the January gym rush floods fitness centres and “new year, new me” posts take over Facebook as people share their often-ambitious goals for 2016.

But why is it so hard to keep resolutions? The Projector spoke to Stephanie Staples, a life coach and the host of “Your Life, Unlimited” on 680 CJOB to find out how to make and stick to goals.

In your experience, why do people want to make New Years resolutions?

SS: I think it’s all about hope. We all want to have hope that there is something more out there for us and . . . that we can attain it.

Why is it so hard to stick to resolutions?

SS: Change is hard. We want something more, something different, something better — but we also want things to be exactly the same. We don’t want to do anything differently.

Is it better to make one big resolution or a few smaller ones?

SS: No matter — we can break little ones as easily as we break big ones. Whatever you pick, divide it up into small, bite-sized chunks and reward yourself for incremental progress.

Do you think it’s better to tell people about your resolutions or keep them to yourself?

SS: It helps to tell supportive people. You do yourself a disservice to tell people who may want to sabotage you, envy you or for some reason not want you to succeed.

For students who need to pay tuition and whose bank accounts are still recovering from the holidays, do you have any advice about setting budget-related goals and spending limits? How can students make and keep financial goals?

SS: Make a list of good debt and bad debt. For example, tuition is a good debt, and gifts are bad debt. Before you spend any money, ask yourself if it’s a need or a want — a good debt or a bad debt.

It can be hard to balance work, school, family life and other commitments, and adding a resolution can pile on stress. Do you have any advice for students who already have a lot on their plate?

SS: Make the resolution something that will help reduce your stress like getting more sleep [or] increasing your activity level.

Should people set goals for themselves year-round instead of just for the new year?

SS: I love the 30-day challenges. Never wait for the first of the year, first of the month or any other day. Make a declaration and start today.