Published on January 16th, 2016 | by Deborah Teplow0
Strategies to Make 2016 Resolutions Stick
by Deborah Teplow
For many people, it’s time to make their annual New Year’s resolutions. The sad truth is that almost of them fail, and that represents a lot of unfulfilled dreams, hopes and aspirations. The problem is that change is hard, and it seems that most people don’t apply the kind of strategies to the job that promote success, but instead rely on faulty thinking and actions. Here are some of the most common problems.
Setting big goals without defining doable milestones: One reason people fail to succeed in reaching their goals is that they initially bite off more than they can chew. It’s great to set a goal of running a marathon, cleaning out all the clutter from your house, meditating 30 minutes a day, drinking eight glasses of water and never losing our temper with our kids. But without defining milestones along the way, that are doable, it’s hard to reach that distant goal.
Going it alone without the right kind or right amount of social support: Social support is critical. Remember the risk we run of becoming obese if we have friends that are obese. It’s the same with friends that indulge in excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs. Humans are social beings, so if the behavior we are trying to change isn’t socially acceptable, it can be tough to keep it up.
Not adjusting the environment to support the change: Just as our own thoughts and social connections play roles in our change process, so does your environment. For example, if we want to recycle and compost as much as possible, but the recycling bins and compost pile are down six flights of stairs, we may find ourselves giving up very quickly.
Falling into the trap of using defenses to avoid action: Here are examples of just a few common defenses: Rationalizing—“I don’t have to exercise today because I danced a lot over the weekend.”; Procrastinating—“I can do it tomorrow.”; Making excuses— “It’s not my fault that I started drinking again. It’s just what the sales team is expected to do after work on Fridays.”; Blaming—“I know I said I would save for the new roof, but my best friend insisted we go to the reunion.”; Denying—“It’s normal for children to not like school.”; and Minimizing—“I was only going 10 miles over the speed limit.”
The goal to successful and meaningful change often hinges on how we address and minimize the barriers to change.
The Institute for Wellness Education will hold a Wellness Coaching Mini-Boot Camp on Jan. 10 in Teaneck with powerful strategies that foster change that sticks. For more information, visit InstituteForWellness.com/mini-boot-camp.
Dr. Deborah Teplow served as executive director for the Institute for Behavioral Healthcare.