Health, The Good Life

Resolutions that Work

It’s that time of year — when many of us are busy trying to fulfill New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to quit smoking, exercise more, eat healthier or lose weight, the average resolution last three weeks. So here are some tips on how to make resolutions stick.

According to Dr. Timothy Pychyl, who specializes in the study of procrastination, attempts to break an unhealthy habit or make a healthy one often fail because those people truly aren’t ready to change, and they don’t have a plan.

Unrealistic expectations can also set us up to fail. So focus on sustainable goals, and start right away. Don’t tell yourself you’ll start tomorrow, and don’t waste time over-planning and over-thinking. Another problem is that most people don’t anticipate how bad they’re going to feel when they stop an undesirable behaviour or face a task they’d rather put off.

One strategy to deal is to substitute a positive addiction in place of a negative one — like taking up jogging to help you quit smoking. Make sure you have a measurable plan with a deadline. Initial success, no matter how minor, can diminish negative feelings and keep you going.

You’ll need a strategy to manage slip-ups — they’re bound to occur. When they happen, refocus your intention and keep moving in the right direction instead of giving up.

Take resolutions one day at a time, even one moment at a time. And focus on enjoying your new healthier lifestyle.

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