Minnesota expert offers tips for successful New Year's resolution-making

As the calendar flips to 2021, Minnesotans will face another year where keeping resolutions may be difficult.

New Year’s resolutions will likely be a challenge during the pandemic, so one Minnesota mental health expert offered tips on how people can stay the course.

"We can obviously create a lot of plans for ourselves every year, but if 2020 taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected," said Dr. Shonda Craft, the dean of St. Cloud State University’s School of Health and Human Services.

Craft said attainability will be key in 2021.

"When people are more successful is when they have a goal that they can actually connect to," Craft said.

COVID-19 may get in the way of traditional resolutions like losing weight, but Craft suggests instead focusing on the beliefs that guide your behavior both day-to-day.

"If you can go back to whatever your core values are, you know, I want to treat people well, I want to be as healthy as I can be, I want to be grateful for myself and for my family, I want to do something great for my community. Whatever those core values are, and then figure out how to do that," Craft suggested.

While resolutions can be both gratifying and daunting, Dr. Craft says success typically begins with small changes.

"It’s always very important to be gentle with yourself. To think about when you’re saying in your mind: I should be doing this or I should be doing that. Just being really careful because that just creates more burden," Craft said.

Craft added that it’s important to focus on the things that are in your control and to remember to find ways to stay connected.