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Tips for Making Your New Years Resolution Work!

Tips for Making Your New Years ... Work!By David Junno Psy.D. Many of us make New Year’s ... few; of us keep them. In their article “If at First Your Don’t ... Polivy and Herman c

Tips for Making Your New Years Resolution Work!
By David Junno Psy.D.

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions few; of us keep them. In
their article “If at First Your Don’t Succeed”, Polivy and Herman
cite statistics that:

· 25% of New Year’s resolutions will be abandon in the first
15 weeks

· The average number of time’s a New Years resolution is made
is 10

· Those who manage to make a resolution that lasts for 6 months
or more have often tried 5 or 6 times before finally

· Many New Year’s resolutions are for health related goals

Three most important elements of a good resolution:
Goals, Goals, Goals!

Have appropriate expectations.

Setting the right goal is everything. Too often we set our
expectations too high. The result is it is harder to meet them.
This in turn can lead to increased discouragement, which can
lead to less motivation in the future. One area people often set

unrealistic goals for is weight loss.

As Polivy and Herman point out, people either have too high
expectations for how much they lose, or they expect too much
from losing it. Genetics accounts for approximately 70% of our
weight. There is a limit to how much we can expect to lose. This
doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try if it is in the interest of our
health. What it does mean is we will be much more successful with
more modest goals.

Just starting a program for healthier living can have results.
According to the research of Roberts and Barnard, people can
experience significant improvements in their health status after
three weeks of making dietary changes, even before they have
any weight loss.

There is also the issue of what we expect from weight loss. Many
of us expect weight loss to result in success in relationships,
work and improved health. Yes, having a better diet can improve
health, even with modest weight loss. However, losing weight is
no guarantee of success in other areas of life. If we tie all our
hopes for a better life to something like weight loss, we set
ourselves up for potential failure. It is unlikely we will
achieve these rewards from weight loss alone. If we want to be
more successful in relationships or work, we should make those
separate goals.

Set a learning goal

Most of us who need to make changes in our lives to improve our
health are not yet ready to make those changes. To make
successful lifestyle changes requires knowledge, time, and
commitment. Leaping in to change before doing the necessary
preparation is another recipe for failure. Rather than expecting
ourselves to make a change right away, we can instead learn about
what we need to do to make a successful change.

Set a goal to explore your need to make a health related change,
get the facts, find out what action steps are necessary,
realistically assess the potential obstacles in your life to
making these changes. Use this information to develop your own
plan. We tend to be much more successful following through on
plans we make than ones others make for us.

Focus on what you are going to do.

Too many health related changes feel like deprivations. We are
going to give up foods we like, stop smoking, and/or stop
drinking. It is hard to maintain motivation for not doing
things. It is more rewarding focusing on what we are going to

For example, for a diet goal think about what you can add to
your life. If you need to reduce high fat foods, consider a goal
of eating more lower fat foods. I have a goal of eating more
fruit each day, so every time I want a snack I see it as an
opportunity to have a fruit or some juice. I have also maintained
a goal of eating an extra portion of vegetable with my dinner.
This makes me feel more like I am doing something for myself
rather than just taking something away.

For a goal like stopping smoking, consider doing more activity
when normally you would be tempted to smoke. If you need to
quit drinking consider setting a goal of spending more time
with family or friends, or participation in non-drinking
related activities.

Make this the year you get it right.

Set appropritate expectations, learn what you need to be
successful, focus on what you want to do, and have a great
New Year!


“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more
important than any other one thing.”
Abraham Lincoln

“If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average.”
M H Alderson

Remember, having the right diet and getting
enough exercise will not only improve your

Until next time,
Dave Junno Psy.D.


Polivy, Janet, Herman, C. Peter."If at First You Don't Succeed."
American Psychologist Sept. 2002: 677-689.

Roberts, C. K., Vaziri, N. D., Barnard, R. J. "Effect of diet
and exercise intervention on blood pressure, insulin, oxidative
stress, and nitric oxide availability.." Circulation Nov. 12
2002: 2530-2532.

You have permission to publish this article
electronically or in print, free of chargeFree Articles, as long as
the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your
publication would be appreciated.

Copyright 2002: David Junno

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Dave Junno Psy.D. is a psychologist, coach and
author of Lowering High Cholesterol and Reducing
Your Risk of Heart Disease- READY OR NOT! To contact him
mail to: or visit his website: and
sign-up for his free e-mail newsletter: Ready or Not.

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