Making Resolutions Stick
Whether it be simply following tradition or retreating from holiday indulgence, most of us start off the new year with a self-improvement "to do" list - resolutions. But why do the best intentions on January 3rd turn into guilt and denial mere weeks later?
Our behavior change experts offer these proven tips for making resolutions "stick":
- Start small. Rather than focusing on "losing 20 pounds," try "I will cut out dessert."
- Measure your efforts. Write down your progress daily and review it at the end of each week.
- Don't go it alone. Work out with a friend or join a health club; have your spouse eat lighter, too; seek out a shopping partner if the spending bug hits.
- Practice stress management. Taking 10 minutes or more each day to relax and relieve stress helps keep you in control.
- Think LAPSE, not RELAPSE. A lapse is normal, expected behavior, and should not be an invitation to give up. Wait until the following day to start up where you left off.
- Stay positive. Reframe self-defeating thoughts, such as "I'll never be thin" to "I think I stayed on track today."
- Watch out for triggers of "off-track" behavior. Try to anticipate and find strategies to counter "derailers" such as social pressure, interpersonal conflicts, and emotional states like anger, anxiety, and depression.
Remember, only 20% of individuals who try to change behaviors succeed on their first try. So relax and go easy on yourself!