For those that celebrate, Christmas is now over and many of us are thinking about the new year. And with a new year comes ideas about what we want our year to look like. For many of us, it means setting goals, intentions, and resolutions.

A 2022 poll by YouGov found that 37% of Americans indicated they had a goal or resolution they wanted to achieve the following year. A Forbes survey showed that the average resolution lasts just 3.74 months. Despite the low long-term success rates of resolution, there is something that seems helpful about setting goals and making steps toward them.

Forbes found that the most common resolutions include improved fitness, improved finances, improved mental health mental health, weight loss, and improved diet.

While I personally have some goals in mind for 2024 around moving my body more, finances, and friendships, I am focusing in on two words I have chosen as intentions for 2024: presence and consistency. I love choosing words as an anchor to come back to.

Behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are all connected. While none of these are easy to shift, behaviors are the easiest of the three, and a change in behavior will change how we feel and think. So, if you want to feel or think differently, focus on what behavior you can do that will likely impact how you are feeling and thinking. For example, if you are overwhelmed and thinking about how much you have to do, a brisk, 20-minute walk will likely help clear your mind, improve your focus, and give you energy.

I want to remind you that the good news about goals is that we can start at any time. If you miss a day or a week or a month, you can start again. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. If you get off track, notice and start again.

With that, it is important to talk about the significance of one degree difference. While one degree seems small, it will have a huge impact on where we are across time. An example of the one-degree difference is that if a plane leaves Los Angeles for Rome and flies for 12 hours (but is one degree off), it will land in Africa! So, while you can have large goals, it is also ok to just make small shifts in your behavior. Consistency is the key. Across time, you will be in a far different place than had you never implemented the small changes.

Because many of us are hoping to improve our mental health in 2024, here are some of the changes or shifts you will want to focus on. To learn more about these, listen to episode three of my podcast (Between the Two of Us).

  • Drink more water
  • Create a gratitude practice
  • Get 7-9 + hours of sleep
  • Exercise
  • Get outside
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Focus on improving your social connectedness

I wish you a happy and healthy 2024! Please let me know what your goals, resolutions, and intentions are! You can find me @jen.alley.therapist on Instagram.


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Intentional Living Worksheet

Guided Mindfulness Meditation