Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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*** This is a synopsis of an article published in Forbes magazine.

A Psychologist’s Secrets to Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Research states that half of all Americans make New Year's resolutions, yet only 8% keep their resolutions and reach their goals. Dr. Paul Marciano, Ph.D., is a behavioral psychologist dedicated to helping people develop the right skills and strategies to stick with their New Year’s resolutions. His seven principles for resolution success are listed here:   

  1. Clearly define your goals. Define what it is that you are trying to accomplish! He suggests being S.M.A.R.T. about your goals: choose resolutions that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
  1. Track your progress. Dr. Marciano stresses that, “if you can measure it, you can change it.” Whether you use an app or a notebook, make a list, create a calendar and hang it on your fridge or on your bathroom mirror, and check off your milestones as you go. Monitoring your progress will help you to adjust your efforts.
  1. Have patience. Accept that you are human, and some days you'll see results and some days you may experience setbacks. Set realistic goals. Be kind to yourself and remain present. Do what you can, as lasting changes take time.
  1. Publicize your goals to friends and family. Share your goals with your family and friends, social support is critical to the success of your resolutions. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to lean on your support system when you feel like giving up, it will help keep you on the path to success.
  1. Put it on your schedule. Make your resolutions the priority. Schedule your resolutions in your calendar just like you would an appointment with your primary care provider or the kids' school musical. Priorities come first and they get done.
  1. Stop “all or nothing” thinking; it’s better do something than nothing. Trying to do it all can be so overwhelming that nothing gets done. Do what you can and be proud of your achievements. If you only have ten minutes to exercise, great! Give it your all every time, and the benefits will add up over time.
  1. Get up, when you slip up. Mistakes help us learn what to do differently in the future. If you slip up, don’t give up, just use what you have learned and do things differently. If you weren't able to commit to an exercise program in the evening, recommit to a program in the morning. Make small changes in your diet to help you sustain changes, like dark chocolate as opposed to a bowl of ice cream. Just commit and recommit when you need to!

Dr. Marciano believes that success is not a product of willpower, rather a balance of skills, strategy and patience. Make your goals a priority in 2018, and celebrate your success later in the year!

Read the full article here.

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