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How To Stick To Your New Year's Resolutions

January, the month where approximately 100 million Americans will bungee jump into bold and sometimes hastily conceived New Year's resolutions...and where most will hit failure. Not to be lackluster or anything but how many comics are dedicated to the failed New Year's resolutions of last year?

So, why is it that New Year resolutions are so often abandoned? Perhaps some goals are just not realistic.

Elizabeth Miller, a UW doctoral candidate in psychology, and Alan Marlatt, director of the university's Addictive Behaviors Research Center, sought to understand the factors that best predict success in keeping New Year's resolutions.

"The keys to making a successful resolution are a person's confidence that he or she can make the behavior change and the commitment to making that change," says Miller. He continues by saying that "resolutions are a process, not a one time effort that offer people a chance to create new habits." "Even if people are successful, they need to follow-up on their behavior over the years," she adds.

To be successful with your own resolutions, Marlatt, who has studied the subject for more than 20 years, suggests:

  • Have a strong initial commitment to make a change.
  • Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up.
  • Keep track of your progress. The more monitoring you do and feedback you get, the better you will do.

Sure fire ingredients for setting yourself up to fail.

Alan Marlatt says they include:

  • Not thinking about making resolutions until the last minute.
  • Reacting on New Year's Eve and making your resolutions based on what's bothering you or is on your mind at that time.
  • Framing your resolutions as absolutes by saying, "I will never do X again."

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, considering the future and looking forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want or need.

There is a right way and a wrong way to make a New Year's resolution. Here are a few tips to help you obtain a successful year of resolution achievement.

Create a plan

Setting a goal without formulating a plan is merely wishful thinking. Have clear steps that can be put into action. A good plan will tell you
A)What are all of the steps required to complete the goal.
B)What to do next
C) What to do when problems / obstacles arrive

Spend some time creating your plan.

Don't just write it down on a cocktail napkin while you wait for your Christmas date to stop dancing with a dinner napkin on his / her head. Give some good quality thought to the plan and consider the details.

Make your plan "Year Round" not just New Year's Day

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your goal get completed. Resolutions may be set in one day, but accomplishments will take many steps that happen throughout the year. New Year's resolutions should be nothing more than a starting point. You need to develop a routine and make it your new positive

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