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Colorado Springs psychologist encourages people to approach new goals in a healthy and sustainable manner

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- For many, January is a time for beginnings and creating goals. However, consistency isn't the easiest. According to a study by the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit.

Psychologists say a lot of the time New Year's resolutions don't pan out because they come from societal pressure and they're not internally driven. Or they're not in line with the person's values.

When looking at values, the main areas are family, relationships, work, education, and personal growth, recreation, spirituality, community, and physical well-being.

When someone is looking at setting a new healthy goal, psychologists say to look at these areas and to evaluate if they're satisfied.

For example, if someone feels pressure to adopt a habit about something they don't value, motivation isn't likely.

One local psychologist shared ways to approach new goals in healthy and sustainable ways.

"There's so much science and research behind how habits develop," Licensed Clinical Psychologist Nicole Peak said. "I would say the easiest way to create a new habit is to pick something small and specific."

To approach a goal sustainably, accountability is very important.

Peak also said seeing a goal and hearing it out loud helps. Whether that's visual in an area it'll be seen often, such as a vision board, or auditory.

Peak also said the easiest way to develop a new habit is to attach that new habit to a previous habit so it's more likely to stick.

Also, an alternative to a New Year's resolution is to make an 'in and out list.'

"What in my life is potentially not working and that's what I would put on my out list," Peak said. "Then what are the things potentially that I want to engage more of in my life? Again, thinking in small, tacking it onto something that's already working for me and in line with my values and that would be part of my in list. Again, they're just prompts to let me know these are things that I want to focus more on in the new year."

The other reason why New Year's resolutions often don't pan out is they're too radical and broad.

Psychologists say to try picking something specific and to take baby steps towards the goal in bite-sized pieces. Then, adjust the steps as the goal gets closer.

For example, if the goal is to be more active. It's recommended to pick certain days, times, and specific activities. The time block it so there's a higher level of follow-through to make it happen.

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Natasha Lynn

Natasha is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado during the week and on weekends.

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