Dear Dr. Andrews,
Every year I make my new year’s resolutions but for some reason I never have any success in sticking with them. This year I would like to put exercise into my daily routine and quit smoking. In the past I lost my enthusiasm quickly and I was back where I started, which made me feel like a failure. Are other people successful in their resolutions, and could you give me some suggestions on how to realize mine. I want to stop feeling disappointed in myself.
“Success in 2010”
I think it’s great that you want to take better care of yourself as your new year’s resolutions reflect. Many people all over the world use this time of year to “take inventory” of how their lives have been in the past year, assess the things they’d planned to do and did, and come to the realization that there were still some things they did not accomplish. This realization, often puts some pressure on everyone, and it could lead to the individuals renewing their resolutions for the New Year much too quickly. Frequently, disappointment and a sense of failure give way to renewed hope that a new beginning could perhaps be made with the start of the New Year.You must know that you are not alone in having difficulty keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Research tells us that only about 40% of the people who make them are able to keep them on the first attempt. The rest make several attempts and many often will succeed on the fifth or sixth attempt. The following are some suggestions to help you succeed this year:
1. Make the decision to make a change for you and no one else.
2. A strong commitment to your goal is very important.
3. Start taking action today. One does not achieve change by thinking about it but by doing
4. Take small steps daily, e.g., when it comes to losing weight, start walking 10 minutes every
day or eat half the portion of a meal that you would eat otherwise.
5. Have realistic expectations for yourself. It is truly amazing how being realistic about our
goals does not overwhelm us and produces amazing results.
6. Avoid being critical of yourself if you slip. Keep in mind that change is a process and it takes
7. Be consistent. Through the accumulation of small actions we get big results.
8. We all want fast changes but we shouldn’t underestimate the factor of time. Changes require
us to be patient.
9. Make a list with coping strategies and several names of people who can be your support
system in your quest to lose weight and stop smoking. You might even find someone to do
this together with and you can motivate each other.
10. Never frame your resolutions as absolutes by saying “I will never do this again.” Success is a
process of changing all habits.
As the well-known football player and coach, Jim Ryan put it, “Motivation is what gets us started. Habit is what keeps us going.” Get into action today with small, consistent steps and before you know it, you’ll be meeting your goals.