December 30, 2009

6 tips that can help you keep your most ambitious New Year’s resolutions

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:46 PM by lanaholt

A Success Story (Yours)
By Alex Ferreyra from

Forty-five percent of the American population makes New Year’s resolutions. But with losing weight and getting more exercise topping the list of most popular goals year to year, most of us could be more resolute about our resolutions. Here are some ways to make this the year you succeed at keeping yours:

1. Start early.
Thinking ahead really boosts your chances of success. “Tell yourself that you are going to reach your goal,” says Joan Lang, M.D., chair of the psychiatry department at Saint Louis University, “then start mapping it out. It’s essential to make plans, not just have good intentions.”

2. Keep it real.
“People get grandiose in terms of what they hope to accomplish,” says University of Scranton psychology professor John C. Norcross, Ph.D., who has spent more than 20 years studying resolution making. They want to lose 50 pounds in a flash when in reality, it takes time to get into a new groove. “People have nanosecond expectations. Think of this as a marathon, not a sprint.”

3. Be specific.
“Vague resolutions beget vague attempts,” Norcross says. “Research shows that we enjoy, and therefore are more likely to  stick with, goals that can be quantified. Instead of saying ‘I want to lose weight,’ say ‘I am going to lose ten pounds and keep it off for the next six months.'”

4. Buddy up.
It helps to have someone by your side in a tough situation, and making a lifestyle change certainly qualifies. A recent study showed that 10 months after people completed a weight loss program either on their own or in a group, 66% of the group members kept the weight off. Only 24% of the loners could say the same. Who makes a good buddy? Anybody! “Family, coworkers, neighbors, people from church or on the internet,” says Norcross. “They don’t have to be changing the same problems as you are.” The important thing is that you keep each other motivated.

5. Go for something new.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again a new way. Want to lose weight, but hate counting calories? A University of Missouri study showed that walking your dog for 20 minutes five times a week helps you lose more weight than the leading diet plans.

6. Write what you sow.

Keep track of your highs and lows. Using online journals or simply writing down where you’re at each day will let you see how far you have progressed toward your goal, and that’s a powerful form of positive reinforcement. As Norcross puts it, “Keeping a journal helps you measure what you’re doing over time, which increases the success rate.” Once you reach one goal, go for another. Like they say, nothing succeeds like success!


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