Glenn Scott portrait

Glenn Scott, LCSW, director of youth services at Loma Linda University Behavioral Health, recommends making daily commitments instead of yearly resolutions.

Making New Year resolutions can be a simple, lighthearted task or conversation starter with good intentions. Keeping them, however, can be complex and create a need to rearrange the daily routines set in place for the past weeks, months, or years. Glenn Scott, LCSW, director of youth services at Loma Linda University Behavioral Health, encourages all to take this time to reflect on what to bring into the new year.

Holiday Hangover

Scott says the first week of January is a reality check back to life. The past several weeks have consisted of various celebrations, vacations, and time away from work, and it takes energy to prepare and participate in these events. He says it’s natural to have a time of low energy after the holidays as you recoup and recharge.

“If you are feeling down around the New Year, take a few moments to focus on what you can accomplish in this year and put energy into things you have direct influence over instead of focusing on what you don't have direct influence over,” Scott says.

Commitments vs. resolutions

Scott recommends making daily commitments to yourself instead of resolutions. What’s the difference? A commitment is a promise that something will happen, such as: “I will go for a walk today because it is good for me.” A resolution is a generic endpoint: “I want to lose weight this year.”

“Commitments renew each day and can lead to a successful year. While resolutions sound good, we often forget them a few weeks into the New Year, and this can derail us from the success we have in front of us,” Scott says.

He recommends setting small goals to work on and accomplish daily, then moving up to weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals.

How to begin daily commitments

Scott sees some people feel refreshed upon a new year while others may feel lackadaisical.

“It’s a great time to take a self-inventory. If you feel refreshed, look at the reasons why and continue to build on them. If you are feeling unaccomplished, then how can you overcome those factors and start over,” he says.

Scott encourages implementing a daily gratitude list. It can be between five to ten things you are grateful for. He says it is important to write them down and post them in a place where they’ll be visible each day. Scott says focusing on what you have versus what you do not have helps you to be in the moment and can reduce long-term stress.

“Each day is a new opportunity for greatness; we must be intentional about embracing these opportunities,” Scott says.

If you seek mental health care in the new year, learn more about the services offered at Loma Linda University Behavioral Health.