Be persistent to keep resolutions

Okay, so you ate too much, drank too much, maybe spent too much.
Now you’re feeling bloated, depressed, guilty and broke. Welcome to
the club. Over the next few days, about 100 million of us will trot
out hopeful New Year’s resolutions to do better – yet again. Be
persistent to keep resolutions
Okay, so you ate too much, drank too much, maybe spent too much. Now you’re feeling bloated, depressed, guilty and broke. Welcome to the club. Over the next few days, about 100 million of us will trot out hopeful New Year’s resolutions to do better – yet again.

We’ll promise ourselves to lose weight, exercise, cut down on alcohol, stop smoking, eat healthier, get organized, make career changes or seek a new romance. We’ll start with glowing fervor and likely end up in a few short months on the ash heap of disappointment.

Are we doomed for failure year after year? How do we make New Year’s resolutions that stick?

Alan Marlatt, director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, has spent two decades studying behavior patterns related to New Year’s resolutions. He believes “initial commitment” is key.

Achieving success involves more than hollow vows or wishful thinking. How badly do you want to lose weight? Are you willing to list a dozen different things you can do and implement several ideas on a daily basis? If you really want something, you’ll figure out a way.

Start slowly. Resolutions are sabotaged when we try to do too much in a ridiculously short period of time. We undertake renovating five years’ neglect in three weeks.

We also set too many goals instead of concentrating on the most pressing challenge. As the old adage goes, “The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!”

Get your head straight. Often, instead of having a vision of good results, we see ourselves failing from the get-go. Subconscious disbelief is a vicious downward cycle that leads to lack of serious commitment and inconsistent action. You do have the power to change. You can take control of the situation and improve your life! It’s not mission impossible.

Write down a step-by-step action plan and get started. The more specific you are, the more likely you’ll be to achieve objectives. What progress do you want to see in 30 days, 60 days?

Post your plan; look at it frequently. Attach the pleasure of attainment. Mental repetition of the positive result is a powerful tool.

Be persistent! In one of Marlatt’s studies, only 40 percent of people achieved their top resolution on the first try. Nearly 20 percent of participants required six attempts to reach their goal.

Marlatt further points out sure-fire ingredients for setting yourself up to fail:

• Reacting on New Year’s Eve, making resolutions based on what’s bothering you at the moment

• Framing resolutions as absolutes by saying, “I will never do X again.”

New Year is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and imagine future changes you’d like to make. As you contemplate goals, determine that 2005 will be the year you take charge of your life. That’s when resolutions become realities, not fantasies.

Happy New Year!

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