New Year's Resolution Tips

By AM Northwest Staff

We talked with Dr. Al Berstein about New Year's resolution tips, and this is what he had to say: 

I will lose weight, starting January 2nd is a good example of a New Year's resolution that ought to bump you up a good five pounds.  Resolutions, if used incorrectly, can result in the opposite of what you intend. 

The mistake most people make is using a resolution like a credit card.  You can charge up ten million calories over the holidays because you don't have to pay attention to what you eat until the bill comes in January.

Another common mistake is resolving to accomplish something, rather than resolving to do what it takes to make it happen.   Sometimes this is because we don't know what it takes to make it happen, but more often, it's because we don't want to know. 

Too often, making a resolution is a fancy way of saying procrastinating.  We put off things that are scary or difficult until some future time when we expect to be miraculously able to do what we cannot do now. 

Procrastinating is seldom a conscious choice; we merely do something else instead of what we're supposed to do.  We do what we feel like doing, then kick ourselves when the stuff we don't feel like doing doesn't get done.

Here's how to use resolutions to make good things happen:

First, resolve to do what it takes no matter what.   To be successful, you have to anticipate and accept the inevitable pain caused by moving out of your comfort zone.  No pain, no gain.

Here's how to tell if you are really serious: Get $50 in fives.  Put them on the mantel, and resolve to burn one every time you don't follow through.  You can also put the money into donation envelopes addressed to an organization you hate. 

The best resolutions are plans, not promises.  Resolve actions not outcomes.  Plan to exercise three times a week, not to lose weight.  Plan to lower the limits on your credit cards and make set payments at set times, rather than resolving to get out of debt.  

Plan with a calendar in front of you.  What isn't scheduled isn't done.

Resolve to pay attention. We make New Year's resolutions to turn bad habits into good habits.  Habits are like an automatic pilot.  If it's programmed wrong, you have to switch it off before you run into a mountain. Resolve to do things that increase your awareness of the choices you're making.  Write down everything you eat, or every dollar you spend. 

Use bad habits to reward good ones.  Don't eat or sit down in front of a screen until you have done your workout or paid your bills.

Make your resolutions public, and invite your mother to ask you how you're doing.   Like I said, no pain, no gain.

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