MAKING RESOLUTIONS THAT STICK
By Sandy Plone, Ph.D.
Most of us have had the experience of making New Year’s resolutions that do not stay with us for any length of time. The media and surrounding culture strongly support making these promises at the beginning of each New Year. Dr. Joyce Brothers, well-known Psychologist, offers suggestions for refashioning our New Year’s Resolutions so that we are more likely to see them through, with ways of rethinking these goals:
- HAVE YOU MADE TOO MANY? The start of a new year may have inspired you to do too much, a sure invitation to disappointment. Pare down your resolutions to one or two, three at the most. And for every one that takes something away, such as quitting smoking or spending less, try to give yourself a positive reward.
- PRIORITIZE. Select the most important resolution and start working on it. You can delay the others until later, once you are sticking with No. 1.
- SEEK INFORMATION. Do you have the data you need to put the resolution into practice? To start an exercise program, for example, you need to know the names and locations of gyms in your area, plus prices, amenities and so forth.
- WRITE IT DOWN. Make a contract with yourself by writing down the steps that you will take to achieve your goal. If it’s to give up smoking, two steps might be to make an appointment with your doctor and to get the patches or gum you’ll use to help you stop.
- BE REALISTIC. Don’t try to accomplish too much to soon. If you’ve resolved to lose weight, set a sensible expectation of pounds per week, and give yourself enough time to reach your ultimate goal.
- PLAN AGAINST MENTAL SABOTAGE. Consider the psychological factors that might get in your way---when you’re tired or frustrated, for example---and how you’re going to overcome them.
- CELEBRATE EACH STEP YOU TAKE. Tell yourself, “I feel great about moving up one level on the exercise bike.” Nothing is too small to feel good about. Minimal advancements, maximally appreciated, eventually add up to success. Most important, positive feelings don’t create mental clutter—they create confidence.
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