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8 Ways to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick

By Eve Glicksman, Staff Writer, myOptumHealth
1/4/2013 5:01:05 AM

This New Year, do you plan to lose weight? Exercise regularly? Or eat more fruits and vegetables? All of those New Year's resolutions sound good in theory, but will you follow through?

Many of us make the same New Year's resolutions year after year, only to find that we can't make them stick.

Making a major change in your life just because it's the start of a new year isn't enough to keep most people motivated for long.

If you truly want to kick a bad habit or make a commitment to yourself, try these tips:

1.Be realistic. Make resolutions that you're sure you can achieve. This will set you up for success. If your goals are too ambitious, you may get disappointed and start to feel badly about yourself. That can make you give up completely. Meeting small goals will keep you in the game.

2.Approach the change with enthusiasm. This is about improving your health and well-being. View your resolutions in a positive light, not as a means to punish yourself for past behavior. Be sure you are making the behavior change to please yourself, too, and not because someone else thinks you should.

3.Keep it simple. Many people make the mistake of setting too many resolutions at once. Don't try to stop smoking, lose weight and give up alcohol all at once. Put your energy into winning one major challenge before you take on another.

4.Write it down. Put your resolution in writing, along with specifics. You're less likely to follow through on vague promises like ''I will exercise more'' if you have no plan of action. Assign yourself daily tasks so you can feel you've achieved something every day.

5.Ask your doctor. Include your doctor in any plans that involve your health. Your doctor can suggest resources to keep you on track, such as support groups, books, medications (if appropriate), or a referral to a counselor or dietitian. Plus, you may be more motivated to stick with a lifestyle change if you look at it as something your doctor ordered.

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