A Psychologist's Secrets To Making New Year's Resolutions Stick.

Research suggests that approximately half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions yet only 8% actually achieve them.
How can you join this elite few? How can you actually follow through on your plan to lose weight, get organized or to spend less and save more?
Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down to lunch with noted behavioral psychologist,Dr. Paul Marciano. Dr. Marciano is the author of Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work and specializes in the area of behavior modification and motivation.
In a wide ranging conversation around goal-setting and behavior change, I noted seven pieces of advice.


1) Clearly define your goals. Many people in the spirit of New Year’s loudly proclaim, “This is the year I’m going to finally get in shape.” But what does that mean? Do you intend to lose a certain number of pounds? Reach a body-fat percentage goal? Run three miles without rest? Bang out 10 pull-ups? Dr. Marciano is a fan of goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). The first step to behavior change is to clearly understand what “it” is.
2) Track your progress. “If you can measure it, you can change it” is a fundamental principal of psychology. These measurements will be a source of motivation as you reflect on where you started and where you are. They will also help you to identify plateaus or “sticking points” in your progress so you can adjust your efforts.
3) Have patience. You must set realistic goals and realize that progress is never linear. Some people will see rapid gains only to hit resistance later in their efforts. For others, initial progress may be painfully slow but then they suddenly achieve rapid breakthroughs. Making lasting changes takes time.
4) Publicize your goals to friends and family. As embarrassing as it might be to announce your specific resolution to the world, social support is critical. Yes, it takes some personal courage and vulnerability to share something that you might actually fail at, but to dramatically increase your odds of success you’ll want support from those around you.

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