NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Time Again for New Year's Resolutions

Time Again for New Year’s Resolutions


          If you like most Americans, chances are at least once, you've made a New Year's Resolution -- and then broken it.  While 67% of people make three or more resolutions, only 63% of Americans report they are keeping their resolutions after two months.  And what are those resolutions?  Top resolutions are: Increase exercise, Lose weight, Be more conscientious about work or school, Have better eating habits and finally Stop smoking/ drinking/Using drugs (including caffeine). Other popular resolutions include: Manage debt/save money, Get a better job, Get a better education, Take a trip and Volunteer to help others

          To increase your chance of success with your New Year’s resolution:


Choose a Goal That's Important to You

Without a strong, internal motivation, your resolution is meaningless. Choose a goal that you truly want for yourself not one dictated by family, friends or society.


Be realistic

The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable. For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite food again because it has a large number of calories could be a bad choice. Strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding it more often than you do now.


Plan ahead

Don't make your resolution on New Year's Eve. If you wait until the last minute, it will be based on your mindset that particular day


Outline your plan

Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that exercise class or have one more cigarette. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your bad habit affects your health.


Make a "pro" and "con" list

It may help to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong. Develop this list over time, and ask others to contribute to it. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.


Talk about it

Don't keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. The best case scenario is to find yourself a buddy who shares your New Year's resolution and motivate each other.


Reward yourself

This doesn't mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates if your resolution is to diet. Instead, celebrate your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution. If you've been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, perhaps your reward could be going to a movie with a friend.


Track your progress

Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, say, focus on losing that first 5. Keeping a food diary or a symptom journal may help you stay on track.


Don't beat yourself up

Obsessing over the occasional slip won't help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take each day one at a time.


Stick to it

Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. Your new healthful habits will become second-nature in no time.


Keep trying

If your resolution has totally run out of steam by mid-February, don't despair. Start over again! There's no reason you can't make a "New Year's resolution" any time of year.


Be Specific: Being specific about your goals is, in part, tied to being realistic. Break down a larger goal like "losing weight" into manageable, specific baby steps. Losing 1-2 pounds a week until you reach a goal weight set by a doctor is a healthier and more achievable goal than committing to losing 50 pounds without any kind of plan in place.


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