Making, and KEEPING, your resolutions

It’s that time of year again, when we identify the things we would like to do consistently for the upcoming year.  More than half of us will not get to February with our resolutions, when we will quit, forget or find something more important on which to focus.

Keeping resolutions is not about willpower, despite what we think, and that can disappear when stress increases.  Being able to keep resolutions is related to associating the goal (and the work required to achieve that goal) with positive emotions as you engage in the new behaviors.  If you feel positively about the change, you won’t feel so burdened or overwhelmed by it.  The more you can link positive emotional rewards with your goal, the greater the liklelihood that you will be able to achieve it.

Stress and mental exhaustion can interfere with our decision making, especially when it comes to changing behavior or making healthy choices.  If we are feeling overloaded, we want immediate gratification and will choose the cake over the salad. Just another thing that interferes with our goals, and the accomplishment of our resolutions.
Things to remember, that will build toward success:

  1. Have a detailed plan
  2. Set realistic goals
  3. Break each goal down (into small, reasonable, attainable steps)
  4. Reward each step, especially when a milestone is achieved
  5. Create a schedule
  6. Have a setback plan
  7. Plan ahead: start working toward your goal NOW, if possible.  Get things ready for starting in January.

Start practicing with small tasks that can help you with self control.  It’s like warming up the engine so that you are ready to go when it’s time to start working toward your resolution.

Find ways to reduce stressors if possible, as we know they will interfere with accomplishing what you want.
If you find that you lose sight of the goals you set, don’t become dismayed.  Just start again.  Goals, resolutions, whatever you want to call them, can be started at any time of the year.  We use the 1st as a benchmark, but do what works for you, and your success will come.

Here’s the link from this morning’s segment:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/23/earlyshow/health/main7178346.shtml?tag=cbsnewsSectionsArea.4

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