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Five tips for keeping New Year resolutions
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December 29, 2008

New Year brings with it a host of new resolutions like losing weight, shaping up and treading cautiously with money. However, the 'vows' often remain unaccomplished. Now, an expert has said that people need to have a self-prescribed 'game plan' to materialize their goals.

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Associate Professor Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and author of Living Smart: 5 Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever, has said that with a little planning anyone can turn a resolution into a habit and a kept promise. Klapow has thus offered five tips to succeed in this annual ritual, which include:

1. Set a very specific goal

"Know exactly what you're trying to achieve. For example, exercise is not a goal, but walking three days a week for 20 minutes is a goal," said Klapow. He further added that more major changes need short- and long-term goals.

2. Monitor forward steps

"Keep track of what you're doing toward change. Mark the calendar, diary or tick off the checklist every time you achieve the new behavior. Self-accountability has a lot to do with happy habits," he said.

3. Arrange to succeed

"Chiefly this means modifying your environment to remove barriers. Put exercise clothes out at night for a morning workout, or to cut back on sweets get them out of the house or keep them out of reach," said Klapow.

4. Recruit a support team

"Research clearly shows that having others support you in behavior change lends help toward success. Ask family and friends to advocate and cheer you on, and show them markers of progress along the way," he said.

5. Treats as reward

"It is human nature to expect a reward from hard work, and research shows rewards help solidify behaviour change. So plan now for treating yourself after consistently sticking with a New Year's resolution," said Klapow.


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