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New Year's Pressure

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With January 1, 2012, on the horizon the pressure is rising to make the annual New Year’s resolution. Will this new year be just another rush of optimism to make that major transition in lifestyle or attitude, only to fall to failure again? Oh, how to make a resolution that can be successful?

Habits are hard to break. We have had a lifetime to have habits hardwired into our personality. This is great if the habits are positive and healthy. If we have some negative habits that are hardwired and we know these are unhealthy habits, it is very difficult for us to change these habits to be more positive.

Each New Year brings pressure to change with all the fear of failure and disappointment. How can we find some success with our resolutions for this New Year?

I think the easiest pathway to success is to make action-plans that are achievable. We may have a big hope, such as to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, but we need to focus on small-step plans to find success.

Weight loss is one of many possible resolutions but a popular one, so I will use it as an example. Losing weight is all about decreasing calorie intake and increasing the calories burned. We should not dwell on stepping on the scales every day, but on taking small steps in changing our eating and exercise habits. Pay attention to what is consumed each day, and find one item high in calories which could fairly easily be eliminated from the daily diet. It could be as simple as having only one teaspoon of sugar in our daily tea, instead of two.

Once we find success with this one small change, find another one. With each small successful change we will develop greater confidence with each succeeding action-plan. It is not as important to actually see a reduction in weight after a month, than it is to actually have been successful in eliminating an unnecessary and perhaps unhealthy high-calorie food item from our regular diet.

This process can be used for any habit we might want to change. Make an action-plan for only a very small change that is achievable. Once that small change is successful, we will gain the confidence to make an action-plan for another small change. Our success and self-confidence will grow. In a year our accomplishment could be quite amazing!