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How to Sustain Your New Year"s Resolutions

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During the last couple of weeks I have run across a plethora of articles, blog posts, and advertisements about New Year's resolutions.
There were certainly a lot of jokes and cartoons on Facebook about the failure of resolutions, and we all laugh because we can all relate.
This week I decided it would be a good time to write about my view of this phenomenon.
More often than not, making a declaration of impending change sets us up for failure rather than the sustainable lifestyle revision we had intended.
There are probably scientific surveys and studies out there about how many New Year's resolutions are made, and how many are adhered to versus how many are broken or abandoned.
I don't have any of those studies to refer to, but I'll bet you and I can guess what the overall results might be.
One of the positive results of making a New Year's resolution would be that you actually set an intention to make a change.
Any change begins with an intention, leading to a concrete decision and finally, deliberate action.
Add loving support to that mix and your likelihood of success rises substantially.
Having a background in music, I think of the word resolution in terms of dissonance resolving to consonance or a harmonious resting point.
It is very disconcerting to most listeners if music does not come to a point of resolution, or to a place that feels finished and complete.
Thinking of the word resolution in those terms it is obvious why we fail at our New Year's resolutions.
There can be no finality or resting point to something you simply say you will change in the next 365 days.
There is nothing to measure and no sense of completion.
Therefore, our resolutions set us up for failure by their lack of specificity as well as the span of time looming ahead before we arrive at a point of completion.
When we resolve to do or be something and we don't arrive at a point of completion in a reasonable span of time, we can feel disconcerted and disappointed in ourselves.
This is why it is vital to set ourselves up for success by doing more than just declaring that we have made a resolution.
Let's look at a common resolution.
Suppose you wanted to improve your eating habits in the coming year.
Great! If you want to be the person who is successful at such a resolution, you must break this intention into specific and doable segments that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
First you make the resolution a priority by deciding what to do about the issue.
These are the decisions leading to action.
Perhaps one decisions might be to eliminate chips, candy, and soda from your diet.
Next, you need to put some skin in the game by taking action and throwing away all the junk food in the house.
When you put that kind of deliberate action behind your decision, your chances of success rise dramatically.
If you have proven to yourself that you can actually throw a bag of Doritos and a package of M&M's into the trash and pour a bottle of Coke down the drain, you are telling your sub-conscious that you mean business! Lest you think you can't throw these products away, because that would be wasteful, remind yourself that it is a waste whether that junk goes into your body or into the trash.
There is no nutritional value to be gained and these empty calories and chemicals are better utilized by the landfill than by your body.
The next action to take to set yourself up for continued success is to shop wisely.
If you don't buy it, you won't eat it.
Have an action plan in place before you shop to ensure wise purchases.
Tip: If you want the highest return on your investment of resources at the grocery store, buy foods without labels and invest your time and energy into learning how to prepare them.
Finally, an accountability component is vital so that when you trip or fall down, there will be a reason to get back up.
Knowing that you have loving support increases your chances of success exponentially! There are a few folks out there that have the fortitude to go it alone when making a lifestyle change, but the vast majority of us need accountability.
Making resolutions is a noble thing to do at the beginning of a new year.
So instead of allowing yourself to be a victim of your own whims, set yourself up for success by making concrete decisions, taking deliberate action on those decisions and finding someone who will lovingly hold you accountable.
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