Most of us make New Year’s resolutions each year.  Among the most popular ones — losing weight, getting organized, spending less, staying fit and quitting smoking.  But according to Statisticbrain.com, only 14 percent of adults are able to keep their resolutions for the year – and many people stumble after the first month.

Why is it that our New Year’s goals will mostly likely fail?  According to Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, executive director at The Dunes East Hampton, a comprehensive addiction treatment residence, stress, exhaustion and frustration with how daunting the resolution is all contribute to us “falling off the wagon”  before we ever get on it in the first place.

Kardaras adds:  “In addition, there is also Seasonal Affective Disorder – a form of depression that is closely related to the winter season and, therefore, seems to increase in frequency around and after the holidays.”

So how do we manage stress, exhaustion, anxiety and depression – the triggers that impede success in making our resolutions?

Kardaras says “At the Dunes, whenever we work with clients, we embrace the notion that the problem lay not in the substance but within the person.  That is to say if a person is feeling out of sorts or not in a good place, they are much more inclined to not only indulge but overindulge.”

According to Dr. Kardaras, this over indulgence can take on various expressions – not just alcohol and not just drugs.. a person can over indulge in shopping, work, sex, gambling .. almost anything.

So what can you do to avoid falling victim to the triggers that ruin resolutions?

Dr. Kardaras offers the following 5 tips:

1.      Learn how to identify and manage your stress:  When you begin to feel yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed, learn how to push the “pause” button as you then take 10 diaphragmatic breaths (as your breathe in you expand your diaphragm/ belly area; as you breathe out you say the word “relax” to yourself).  You’ll be amazed how this single method reduces the stress by lowering the cortisol levels in your system.  At the Dunes, we practice breathing meditation both in the morning and in the evening.

2.       Don’t over-schedule your time:  We all try to juggle and multi-task but usually that only makes us less efficient in doing any one thing.  It also raises the stress level.  So write a schedule in the morning for your day that is a realistic one  – of what you can accomplish in one day.  If you can’t complete everything on your list, carry it over to the following day.

3.      Schedule quality down-time or “me- time” every single day.  This can include taking a mindfulness walk or just sitting quietly in a peaceful area and just.. daydream.  Quality time can include reading a book, exercising, mediating or listening to music – but no computer viewing or sensory overload.  At the Dunes, we try to talk at least one nature walk a day.

4.      Don’t  let yourself be so hurried and harried that you forget to eat regularly:  Remember to eat small healthy meals five times a day.  The worst thing you can do for your metabolism is to be stressed or fatigued and to forget to eat for long stretches.  Your body then slows down it metabolism in order to store calories because it thinks you are entering a stress or fasting period.

5.      Get at least eight hours of sleep a night and use good “sleep hygiene”:  If you don’t get enough sleep, the stress hormone cortisol is released.  And before going to bed, avoid stimulants and eating so much before bedtime.  Exercise earlier in the day and no electronics in the bedroom.

According to Dr. Kardaras, following these five tips will greatly reduce the triggers that impede our ability to be at our best and achieve our goals.

Dunes East Hampton  is a unique and comprehensive luxury alcohol and drug rehab center located in the beauty and serenity of East Hampton, New York. Its private residential quarters, sleeping accommodations and cuisine are as exquisite as the surroundings and add to the overall comfort and pleasure of its residents.

The Dunes’ addiction treatment modalities are second to none and include care and support for the whole person — body, mind, and spirit.  The clinicians start with a complete physical and psychological evaluation which helps them develop an individualized treatment plan — custom made for each patient. The staff-to-resident ratio of 3-to-1 provides the best opportunity for each person to receive personalized attention and care every day.