Toast to the People Pleaser Actually Keeping a New Year’s Resolution

With the New Year having come and gone, you may have made a resolution of some kind for 2024. Maybe it was to exercise or lose weight. Maybe it was to stop smoking or consuming any unhealthy substances. Whatever it might be, keeping resolutions is almost unheard of for any group of people, people pleaser or not. At the same time, people pleasers are less likely to keep resolutions because they’re incapable of maintaining focus on themselves. You’re so worried about everyone around you that you can’t possibly fit in the time to take up exercising or meditating. How do you break the habit and keep a resolution?

It Takes Time

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Your brain doesn’t automatically become prepared for change because the year changed overnight. With our brains being creatures of habit, they’ve formed familiar pathways, and those pathways can be habits or routines we currently exhibit. If you want to make change, it takes training the brain to do otherwise. Have you heard it takes 21 days to start a new habit or break an old one? Well, it’s because doing something repetitively over 21 days gives your brain time to form that familiar pathway and the act or lack of act becomes easier for us.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is another factor to add to the equation. Place a jar in a place you’ll see it everyday and every time you complete your resolution, add a marble. When you’ve collected 21 marbles in the jar, do something nice for yourself. Positive reinforcement is a way to boost the dopamine in your brain to hopefully get your brain to make the connection between your goal and pleasure. Speaking of goals, they need to be small. There might be someone in the world who can go from zero to 100%, it’s not me or anyone I know though.

Small Goals

Small goals are more achievable and more likely to be positively reinforcing. Say for example you sign up for a gym membership and you go every day for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks you start missing days here and there and eventually, it’s been a month or 2 since you went. If you’re anything like me, you forget to cancel that membership as well. But, what you’ve told yourself is that you aren’t capable of changing your habits or setting and reaching goals. That’s UNTRUE. You are capable, but you gotta take it slow and steady.

My Nontraditional Workout Regimen

I decided I wanted to start working out. One thing I know about myself is I will not go to a gym everyday. Will I work out at home? Yes, but it needs to be a simple set up. My plan was to get up early every morning and do a 15 minute Pilates video. This involved waking up early (I’m already not good at that) unrolling the Pilates mat, turning on the TV to my favorite Pilates instructor, and doing the workout.

That happened for maybe 2-3 days then I was done. You might think that wasn’t a difficult routine to incorporate into my mornings, but I’m a ‘wake up at the last minute’ person. Sleep is more important than almost any self-care to me, so it was difficult okay.

Not Giving Up

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I still wanted to find a way to incorporate exercise into my day though. A workout regimen that takes 1-2 minutes would be a better option. I work in an office setting and knew it would need to be one that I could also perform while in my office.

While at work I’ll randomly do 30 jumping jacks between clients, do 10 squats, and lift 2 lbs. weights while looking over my schedule or whatever I’m working on. At home I throw in some leg lifts, more squats, and heavier weights that I lift 10 times. It’s not much, but I feel accomplished. I also don’t work up a sweat which would require bathing afterward and I can do these small workout bursts in any clothing.

I need these changes to be so small I barely notice them. So, I encourage you to set a goal and keep making it smaller and smaller until you eventually have a barely noticeable goal. Maybe it’s a matter of finding a small workout you can do at your office. Snack Nation posted a great article with ideas of office workouts, and you can find those here 25 Office Exercises: Easy Desk-Friendly Ways to Get Fit (snacknation.com). I wish you the best of luck setting small goals and rewarding yourself. And remember, you’ve never failed until you stop trying :)


Jenn Kemp, PMHNP, is a dedicated psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner with a personal and professional commitment to helping others overcome people-pleasing behaviors. Having navigated her own journey through these habits, Jenn combines clinical expertise with genuine empathy to guide her readers towards healthier, more authentic lives.

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