The Most Popular New Years Eve Resolutions

And How to Keep Them!

Every January, millions of people make New Years resolutions that they intend to keep. However, within a few months, or even a few days, they've already given up. How can you change your behavior and succeed in making realistic New Year's resolutions that you are able to keep?  The tips below will put you on the path to make lasting changes next year!

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Top New Years Resolutions

According to the Washington Times, here are the top 15 New Years Eve resolutions that are made each year. These are likely to continue to be the most popular New Years resolutions in the coming years, as well: stop smoking, drink less, get more exercise, go on a diet, find a soul mate, spend more time with family and friends, get more organized, find a job, travel more, help others, relocate, manage stress better, get out of debt, text less, and watch less TV.

If one of these is the resolution that you plan to make, how much thought have you given to it? Is this something that you really think you can do? In order to change your life, you must learn how to change your behavior, and this is not something that happens simply because we wish it. Behavior changes also take commitment and a plan.

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How to Change Behavior

There are several steps involved in making a permanent change to your behavior, whether that behavior is stopping smoking, cutting back on your drinking, hitting the gym more often, or anything else. Before you begin to change, you have to be ready. If you are making your resolution because of pressure from other people, you are much less likely to succeed. Before you make a resolution, think about why you are making it. Who are you making it for? Is it something you really want to do?

Think about your motivation. Why do you want to achieve this New Year's resolution? If you are not motivated, you will not take the necessary steps. Do you really want to stop smoking, lose weight, stop biting your nails, save more money, find a job, complete your degree, or spend more time with your family? Don't make the resolution if you are only making this resolution because someone else is nagging you.

Once you can honestly say that you are doing this for yourself, and it is something that you really want to do then you are ready to take the necessary steps to initiate the change.

All of this thinking is part of a stage of change called precontemplation. In this stage, you go through a period of self-analysis. Until now, you may have been in denial about the problem you have. Once you accept that you really do have a problem, you are ready to face it.

Contemplating Change

The second stage of change is called contemplation. During this stage you start thinking about the benefits and disadvantages of making a change in behavior. You may feel a bit conflicted or ambivalent about changing your behavior, even though you realize that it is something you really should do. It's important to realize that people can stay at this stage for months or even years. This is one reason why many people keep making the same New Years Eve resolutiona year after year, without ever succeeding. If you are one of these people, accept that fact that you may simply still be in the contemplation stage.

Preparing to Make a Realistic Change

The third stage of change is preparation. During this phase, you may make small changes. For example, if you want to stop smoking, you may just cut back a little and see how it goes. If you want to lose weight, you may make a few changes in your diet and see if you can handle those changes without feeling too deprived. You are preparing yourself to really take action.

While going through this stage, you need to make certain that your resolution is one that is realistic. For example, is it really realistic that you will never eat sugar again? Probably not. However, it is realistic to decide that you will stop buying candy, cookies and muffins to keep at home. By limiting your sugar consumption, you're taking an important step towards your goal, without setting unreasonable demands on yourself.

Once you have a specific, realistic goal, and you are certain you are adequately motivated to make it happen, you need to come up with an action plan! How are you going to fulfill your New Year's resolution? Are you going to take an exercise class, see your doctor for a prescription to help you stop smoking, or read a book on parenting? Write down your plans, and spread them throughout the year. It will help to know in advance what you will be doing each month to move you towards success! In short, have a plan and work the plan!

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Taking Action

Action is the next stage of change. This is when you actually begin to make the change you desire. At this stage, you need to find ways to get all the encouragement and support you need to facilitate the change. Set up a reward system for yourself. Tell other people about your goal and ask them to support you. Stick affirmations on post-it notes around your home. Reinforce every little accomplishment you make towards your goal.

One way to carry out your plan is to set specific small goals. For example, instead of telling yourself that you want to lose weight, set a specific and realistic goal. If your long term goal is to lose twenty pounds, resolve to lose two to five pounds a month. Those are manageable numbers, and you will feel pleased with yourself when you achieve them.

Maintaining the Change

The final stage of change is maintenance. For some people, this may be the most difficult step. You are going to have to learn to deal with temptation, and continue to reward yourself every time you succeed. Gradually, as you realize that have successfully reached your goal, and you are sticking with it, you will build up confidence that you can continue to succeed in keeping your New Years Resolutions.

Finally, overcome your fear of failure. No matter how many times you have tried in the past, tell yourself that this will be the time that you succeed in reaching the goals you set in your New Year's resolution. Research shows that many people attempt to stop smoking several times before they actually succeed. That just means you need to keep trying, and believe that eventually you will succeed. Tell yourself that failure is not an option!

If you are planning to make some changes in your life this New Years Eve, you may also be interested in reading these articles:

Understanding the Disease of Alcoholism

Why I Love the New Weight Watchers Points Plus Plan

Walk Your Way to Weight Loss

Products to Help You Quit Smoking

Learn More About How to Change Your Habits

Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick
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