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New Years Resolutions – NO Hollow Promises!

It’s always been hard to stick to New Years’ Resolutions. Most often vows remain unaccomplished expiring as early as February 1st. I know it; I’ve even done it once or twice! Let’s break this bad habit together. People need to have a personal ‘game plan’ to materialize their goals. With a little preparation and planning anyone can turn a resolution into a habit and a kept promise– c’mon, 2009 is waiting!

Be S.M.A.R.T. and be a success!

  1. Set a specific goal. (SPECIFIC) – Know exactly what you’re trying to achieve. For example, exercise is not a goal, but walking three days a week for 20 minutes is a goal. The more major the change, the more need for short- and long-term goals. Don’t say: “I want to lose weight.” Do say: “I want to lose 5 pounds a month so that I look hot in my new swimsuit on the fourth of July.” Make realistic, measurable goals and write them down. If you want to lose weight, don’t bring desserts, junk food, candy or ice cream into the house. Limit your exposure to people who are likely to encourage resolution-breaking. There’s a reason parolees aren’t allowed to hang out with known criminals–they’re a bad influence. Surround yourself with good ones.
  2. Monitor forward steps. (MONITOR) – Keep track of what you’re doing toward change. Mark the calendar, diary or tick off the checklist every time you achieve the new behavior. Self-accountability has a lot to do with happy habits. Limit the number of resolutions you make. It’s better to do one thing well than several things poorly (or not at all).
  3. Arrange to succeed. (ARRANGE or ACCOUNTABILITY) – This means modifying your environment to remove barriers. Put exercise clothes out at night for a morning workout, or to cut back on sweets get them out of the house or keep them out of reach. Take action immediately. Make important appointments with a doctor, dietitian or counselor. Sign up for a gym membership, join boot camp or buy any equipment you need. Post your list in a visible place to serve as a reminder and encouragement to yourself. It will also allow other people (your family) to see your resolutions and provide support. If you want to keep your resolutions private, record them in a journal.
  4. Recruit a support team. (RECRUIT or REINFORCE) – Research clearly shows that having others support you in behavior change lends help toward success. Ask family and friends to advocate and cheer you on, and show them markers of progress along the way. Enlist the support of your friends and family. If you’re lucky, they’ll have similar goals and you can work on your resolutions together. Encourage people to be helpful and supportive.
  5. Treats as reward (TREAT yourself) – It is human nature to expect a reward from hard work, and research shows rewards help solidify behavior change, so plan now for treating yourself after consistently sticking with a New Year’s Resolution. Substitute a good habit for the bad one you want to break. If your goal is to eat less junk food, find a healthy food you love. If you want to spend more time with your family, establish a special time during the week when everyone is together.

Take Responsibility for Your Life – Lifestyle Changes

  • Define your payoffs; then cut them out – You’re getting something from your behavior, or else you wouldn’t do it. Work on gaining confidence—low self-esteem and pent up guilt gives you an excuse to sit on the sidelines. It gives you an excuse to be less than you can be.
  • Behave your way to success – Your past easily becomes your future because what you fear, you create. If you feel deprived of some experience, or emotion from some one else, give yourself emotional closure. Give yourself what you didn’t get from someone else now. Create what you want out of life. If you want to be loved, be loveable. If you want to get your family interested in your life, get interested in their lives.
  • You choose your behavior; you choose the consequences – You are an adult now and you need to take responsibility for your actions. You can’t blame your family anymore. You are old enough to do something about your feelings. Your family can’t take this on. The greatest stress in life is to hold someone else accountable for something they can’t control. The only person you control is you.
  • It all comes back to the life law statement – “You’ve got to name it before you can claim it.” If you are stuck in an unsatisfying life, ask yourself what would make you happy? Write out what you need to hear from your family that you’ve never heard before. Be very specific. Give your list to your family. Ask them to read it, consider it and respond. Open your heart, put the spirit of criticism aside. Be ready to do the same for your family.

Overall Tips & Warnings

  • Visualize success. Create a mental picture of the new, improved you. Focus on this image when you’re tempted to blow off your goal.
  • Stay positive. If you slip up one month, just let it go and get back on track.
  • We know New Year’s resolutions can be both troublesome and rewarding. Most of us make them, but few make a real commitment to them. So, before you put the champagne on ice, spend some time pondering exactly what you hope to achieve in the year ahead and how you plan to do it. We are here to help!
  • If you have not done so yet, check out the Lululemon goal setter on the Milwaukee Adventure Boot Camp website.
Adapted from – One India (Do-It-Yourself) and from Dr. Phil’s New Years Resolutions – Making Them a Reality
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