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No More "Rollover" Resolutions!

Jan 3, 2008
If your New Year's Resolutions are still going strong, good for you! But, if you are like most of us, your resolutions were left in the dust long ago.

The average resolution lasts less than 72 hours. No surprise, that's the same length of most diets.

Why the short span for decisions so vital to our health?

The very nature of resolutions relies on "a magic moment", the idea that, at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, we will somehow, suddenly, be different people. We'll exercise, when we didn't do it before. Or we'll develop a voracious appetite for healthy food when our stressful schedule usually leads us towards quick, fast and easy: i.e. MacDonalds.

In reality, there is no difference in us between 11:59 and 12:01. We haven't changed in that moment of time. Our attitudes and beliefs are the same and they haven't been revised. Our past attempts and failures are the same and they remain unexamined. Our confidence in our ability to succeed hasn't changed and we've done nothing to boost or enhance our mental and emotional coping skills.

So, if your "magic moment" has passed and you've resumed life as it existed at 11:59 December 31, 2007, let go of that improbable scenario and get to work making your wishes come true.

The word "work" is appropriate here. It will take work. Internal change happens before external change. But it can be done and the skills developed while making big changes are valuable tools that can make every other area of life easier.

Here are four steps to making those resolutions a reality:

1. Get to "Want": This is usually the easiest step. We all want something new in our lives. It might be more energy and vitality, a new meaningful relationship, or the end of a habit or addiction like smoking, overeating or drinking. Clearly identify the desire and intensify that feeling as much as possible. There's an inherent powerful, motivating force in desire.

2. Believe you can do it: Even the smallest, random thought that we cannot succeed will become sabotage. Most of us have a negative little monkey-mind voice in our heads that says "You can't do that!" or "Who do you think you are!" or "You're going to do WHAT?" In order to fully and completely believe in your success, you may need to confront past failures, eradicate that negative mental chatter and forge a new positive attitude.

3. Constant Attention and Reinforcement: Constant reinforcement of our original desire and goal is important every step along the way. The great sales master Zig Ziglar once said, "Motivation doesn't last very long, but neither does bathing. That's why you do it every day." Reinforcement can come from within ourselves, from a carefully constructed support system or a professional coach.

4. Be Persistent: This is the simplest step. Do what will lead to the goal, then do it consistently. Even the smallest changes in diet and exercise will pay off, if sustained. Simply giving up diet soda is known to result in an average weight loss of 17 lbs. per year. Giving up regular soda can average 20-25 lbs. in a year. Giving up an afternoon candy bar will add up to a pound lost every two weeks, or 26 lbs. in one year. These examples are the type of weight loss that tends to be permanent as well, since the habitual behavior is broken. So, the size of each step isn't as important as the persistent pursuit of the goal.

Behavior is the key. Instead of concentrating on the generic, broad topic of "losing weight" as a resolution, concentrate on some of the behaviors that add extra calories to your daily intake and change them. Once a negative behavior is changed, food becomes irrelevant.

Conscious behavior change in any area of our lives tends to be permanent and that's the key to every successful resolution!
About the Author
Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC, earned her title "America's Weight Loss Catalyst" by coaching thousands of clients toward permanent weight loss. Her status as an expert is heightened by her own personal weight loss success. Receive her free newsletter "The Catalyst" by visiting
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