How to Keep Those New Year's Resolutions

Sticking to New Year's Resolutions takes a little strategy. While most people will fail, you can succeed by following Michele Phillips suggestions.

Michele Phillips is a sought after motivational speaker and peak performance coach, she is also my friend. She has helped some of the nation's leading executives creative positive change by showing them how to develop positive habits. She will bring her creative workshops to Rockland and Westchester in February and March. More information can be found at www.key2unlock.com.

I thought I would share her secrets to sticking to those New Year's resolutions with her article below. 

A Five-Step Plan for Keeping Those New Year’s Resolutions and Creating Positive Habits in 2013

According to Michele Phillips, founder of Key Performance – Unlocking Potential, an estimated 50 percent of Americans will make New Year’s Resolutions and despite all the best intentions, only eight percent will stick to them. The most popular resolutions have to do with improved health habits, spending more time with family and friends, and the popular promise to quit smoking.

“The reason the vast majority fail at keeping New Year’s resolutions is because they are made haphazardly and with no back up plan for success. So it becomes more of a wish list than a firm decision to change,” states Phillips, who has coached some of the nation’s leading executives on creating positive habits.

One way to turn wishes into real change according to Phillips, is to think of them as habits. Habits are the things people do on automatic pilot, like making a cup of coffee in the morning, flossing teeth, and the route people take to work each day. The gift, or the curse, of habits is that they require no energy. People perform them without even thinking. The beauty of habits is that the more positive habits people have, the easier it is to achieve success in all areas of life.  So instead of making New Years Resolutions, Phillips encourages people to identify and pursue creating positive habits. She offers the following 5 tips.

 1.      Be Specific

The reason most resolutions don’t even get off the ground is because they are too vague.  People vow to be healthier, happier or to spend more time with their spouse.  While those are all good ideas, they aren’t specific enough to carry any power.  If you want to be successful, identify specific goals, e.g., if your goal is to ‘spend more time with your spouse’ focus on what events you might be able to do together and make a plan for accomplishing it such as having a babysitter once a week so you can go to the movies or go out to dinner.

 2.      Don’t Subtract – Add

Don’t deprive yourself or take something away when you are starting to create a new positive habit. Instead Phillips suggests that adding is a much easier way of incorporating change.  If you want to be healthier, don’t give up your daily soda and cookie habit right away, but instead add two pieces of fruit to what you eat each day.  Experts say it takes 21-days to form a habit.  Therefore she suggests committing to eating two pieces of fruit for the next 21 days.  Once that’s set, then add vegetables to lunch and dinner for 21 days, then add walking, etc.  Eventually the good choices/habits will leave little room for the bad ones.

 3.      Start Small

Most people fail because they aim too high, start too big and try to change too much at once.  Establishing smaller goals in the beginning helps increase your chances for success which encourages you to keep moving forward. Set small goals in each of the areas you want to improve and you are likely to feel motivated more quickly and for a longer period of time.

 4.      Find Like-Minded People

Spending time with people who eat fast food will likely lead to you eating more fast food. Find people who display healthier habits and you will likely do the same. Phillips suggests identifying people who display the habits you want to emulate. Consider joining a support group or enlist a buddy to support your efforts. 

 5.      Give Yourself Permission to Make Mistakes

The easiest thing to do in the face of a set back is to quit.  Most people start out with the best intentions, but at the first slip up they tell themselves it wasn’t meant to be and that they shouldn’t have attempted to change in the first place. Realize that set backs happen and it’s part of the process of change. Learning from them, and getting over them will propel you forward and increase your rate of success in the future.

Change doesn’t come easily.  It is the result of discipline, effort and consistently applying the strategies for success. Be patient with yourself, celebrate successes and use set backs as learning opportunities and you could be part of the eight percent who achieve ‘resolution success’ in 2013!

To contact Michele Phillips or to attend her upcoming seminar on February 2, 2013- Positive Habits for a New Year and a New You! go to www.key2unlock.com to register.

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