New Year’s Resolutions: Successful Strategies

Daily Health Solutions
on March 12, 2008

Make good on your New Year's resolutions with these tips from M.J. Ryan, author of This Year I Will…How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution or Make a Dream Come True.

  • Make it non-negotiable. Promise yourself that you are absolutely going to do it. When you do it, where you do it, how you do it can, and most likely will, change according to circumstances. But that you will do it is not open for consideration. Thinking of it as something that's not a choice will help you stay consistent after your initial enthusiasm fades.
  • Get specific. Make your goal concrete: I'm going to exercise 30 minutes daily; I'm going to spend a half hour a day relaxing with my feet up on the couch; I'm going to make a decision about the vacation by Friday. To succeed, you have to know what actions you're going to take.
  • Know your excuses. Why do you normally not follow through with your goals? Do you forget? Have no time? Not know how to begin? Instead of just hoping it will be different this time, write down your typical excuses and create strategies for dealing with them in advance.
  • Do it daily. Someone asked the Dalai Lama to describe in one word the secret to living a healthy life. His answer? "Routines." Bad habits imprison us; good ones bring us closer to our heart's desire. The more you make what you want part of your everyday life, soon you won't even have to think about it.