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Making your resolutions stick

A new year often begins with good intentions as thousands resolve to make positive changes in their lives. Resolutions are easy to make when one is toasting at midnight on Dec. 31 and ready to take on the world. But they can be much harder to keep as the days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months.

Almost one-third of Canadians make a New Year’s resolution, and three quarters of those people eventually break them.

If you didn’t make a resolution at the end of December, there’s still time. You can change anytime you want, after all, iIt’s your life.

For those who want to push through the fail point this year – and stay strong in the face of tempting desserts and the craving to light up a cigarette – some of these suggestions may help resolutions stick.

Start small

Don’t make an unrealistic resolution. Losing weight is a popular resolution and some resolve to drop dozens of pounds in an effort to completely transform their bodies. However, when the weight doesn’t magically come off, it can be easy to grow discouraged. Weight loss is not instantaneous, and healthy weight-loss plans advocate gradual weight loss, such as one or two pounds per week. It can take several months to see a considerable difference if you’re aiming to lose 50 pounds. Instead of setting such a lofty weight-loss goal, establish incremental milestones with tangible dates.

Set a reasonable time frame

Those making a resolution should take care to be realistic when determining how long it will take to achieve your goal. Achieving a difficult goal can take time, so don’t expect overnight success.

Get support or talk it out

Speaking about what you are going through and getting reassurance from other people can work wonders to strengthen resilience. When the desire to quit sneaks up, you can consult with a friend or consider a support group. Taking a group class at the gym may be a more effective motivational tool than working out solo.

Keep resolutions private, if that’s what feels right

It could be better to keep your resolution to yourself, in some cases. Many people are compelled to share their resolutions with friends and family. However, that can lead to feelings of competition or animosity if someone is realizing goals before you. Feel free to keep your resolution private as you go through the process. Once you have met your goal, then you can share your success with others.

Create an incentive program

Set up an accountability system. Institute a rewards system for your success. You might even use a monetary system as a double-bonus. When you stick to a resolution over a predetermined period, put a dollar in a jar. If you fall off course, take a dollar away. Find the incentive that works for you.

Avoid expensive resolutions

Before making a resolution, research how much a resolution might cost. Gym memberships or new hobbies may stretch your budget, and if you cannot afford a resolution, how can you keep it? If money is a concern, choose resolutions that are fiscally possible. Failing to keep a resolution can be all the more depressing when you’re thinking, “I could have done that … if I was something I could’ve afforded.”

Avoid boring resolutions

Many people make boring resolutions that often focus on the mundane instead of more positive things. Resolutions need not be changes that profoundly alter your mental or physical well-being. Making fun resolutions will probably help you stick to them. Perhaps you will resolve to spend more time with the kids or promise to try more adventurous activities. Maybe you decide it’s time pursue a hidden passion, such as music or art. Enjoyable resolutions are much easier to keep.

Whatever you decide (or decided) to resolve yourself to, here’s to a happy and healthy 2017.

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