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How to stick to New Years resolutions

Its that time of year again where we all make resolutions we intend to keep but never do.  Here is my graphic depiction of my health club on December 31 vs January 1.


In all seriousness I’ve always been a little bit skeptical of the whole idea of new years resolutions.  It seems like an artificial motivation, and artificial motivations lead to disappointing ends. How many of us (myself included) have said “This year I am going to lose weight” or “This year I am going to get organized” and then not done it?  Im going to go ahead and guess probably everyone reading this.

The secret is that cold turkey changes simply do not work for most people.  The only true way to stick to new years resolutions is to make small changes.  Here are a few common examples to get you started.

1) Get in shape
Instead of saying “I am going to the gym every day and eating only healthy foods” start easy and work your way up.  Sure, get in those first few good workouts but then try some gradual changes.  First, do ten pushups every day when you get up.  Go to the gym once a week.  Eat very healthy for at least one meal per day.  Once you have worked that into your life such that it is routine, move it up a notch.  Work out three times a week, eat healthy for two meals a day.  It is all about building routine.

2) Get rid of debt
Once again, its time to start small.  Instead of making a minimum payment, add $20 onto each credit card payment, or start to follow the Penny Saved Plan for reducing debt.

3) Reconnect with people
This is another one that can seem overwhelming but is actually fairly easy.  The key here is to start small: decide whom you most want to reconnect with and make a phone call.   After the initial contact, make yourself follow up in 2 weeks if you don’t otherwise.  Chances are, if they are happy to hear from you, they will make an effort as well.

 Why do we abandon resolutions?
The main reason is that its easy to get discouraged when results don’t come quickly enough or when we figure out they don’t immediately make us happier.  This is once again where routine comes in.  Behavior change is not an overnight occurance…and it generally requires discomfort. 

Happy New years, and remember, changes don’t happen overnight! Now excuse me while I go renew that gym membership 😉

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