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5 Secrets for Keeping Your Resolution Going All Year – Don’t Give Up!

January 30, 2014

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  1. Think of yourself as a scientist, and you are your own subject. You can view any resolution failures as data for improving the resolution, not reasons to give up on it. We all are unique and some general goal statement with an ordinary plan will not necessarily work for you. You can customize your resolution until it is right for you. Use the following items to address changes to your resolution.
  2. Put more attention at first on the dream of the future you want – the result that motivates you – than the behavior you think you need to start or stop doing. It is so easy to think each year that losing weight or exercising more is the magic step to happiness. It may in fact be a part of your plan, but the most important question is why you want to be healthy and probably look better, feel better, and have more energy. What future do you see with you being active and happy, doing what you want to do, when you want to do it? This is the story you need to write for yourself. The emotional connection I found in wanting to be a healthy grandma to my new grandson for a very long life was the key that helped me, yes, lose 15 pounds (and keep them off), lower my blood glucose to under 100, and get a BMI of under 25. It was the context for all the resolutions I made during the year to reach my best fitness. I continue to adjust my resolutions as I maintain the result I attained.
  3. Assess for yourself when you need to especially watch for lapses in behavior that lead to crashes in your desired result. It is not necessary to change all your behaviors all the time. You can make an impact by changing a few behaviors at really important times. This is where your resolution is different from everyone else’s. We all have different situations when we fail. If you find yours, you will create new specific behaviors that work for you. For example, I must weigh myself everyday to keep on track. I must be very careful eating in restaurants or when food is in the break room at work. These are the crucial moments for me. They are not for everyone, just what I have learned.
  4. Choose two or three very important behaviors that are directly connected to your results to engage in for change. You may need to research your result, identify the critical behaviors designed to produce a real change. You may not know what behavior will really cause a change for you. A diet or exercise program may not have long term results. You may find that the actual behavior you need to change is one you don’t want to change. This is a real test of the value and desire for the result for you. This may sound silly, but I love bread. It turns out that to stay at a lower weight, I can’t eat very much bread at all. I have found that I have been willing, as I have lost the weight this year, to give up something that can’t compare to the feeling of health, energy, and slimness. I have learned I must eat protein most, vegetables second, starches third, and bread and sweets almost never to stay at a healthy weight. There are other rules for me, but they are not for everyone. You will feel so powerful when you have created the plan that works for you to reach your result.
  5. Put controls into your life and environment to manage the conditions that either help or hinder your success in accomplishing your resolution. It is not possible to create a personal change if all the same barriers and obstacles remain to keep you from being successful. In a widely read book about personal success*, six influences are described that either work against your success or make it inevitable. Briefly, you want to find ways to keep your:
    • Personal motivation high by having easy ways to be in touch with it
    • Personal ability high by never assuming you know how to succeed and going for new learning every time
    • Social motivation high by communicating with your friends and family your real desire to change and asking them to help
    • Social ability high by getting role models, coaches (online), and others to give you advice about the best way to succeed
    • Structural motivation high by setting short term incentives and rewards that really mean something that will keep you going (points work for me, also could be money or prizes)
    • Structural ability high by arranging your space at home and work to make your behavior change inevitable, not unlikely

The more important the result you want to attain, the more care you will spend in setting up the influences to create your success. For the time you are working on your resolution, it needs to be the top priority for you.

One last thing: your resolution is only as good as the measuring tools you have to keep track of how you are doing. It is a given that you need a result that can be measured, perhaps in several ways, to adjust your behaviors against. Short term and long term deadlines can be really critical for actually reaching your resolution result. Be sure to define your resolution in terms of time, quantity, or quality of some kind. If you are trying to save money or spend money differently, be sure to track your amounts carefully.

You are in charge of the quality of your resolution, as well as the accomplishment of the result you really want. I have learned so much this year about how to create personal change. I hope this has helped you. I would love to hear your story. If you have questions or want to share, contact me at

* The ideas in this blog came from the author’s experience with the theory of personal success that is described in the book, Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson, Business Plus. New York. 2012

Susan Brodie

Director, Learning Resources

Nelnet, Inc.

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