Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Are you thinking about making a resolution to change? About half of us make a resolution to change something at the beginning of a new year. Less than half of us making resolutions achieve them. Good intentions can go bad without commitment, planning and monitoring of progress. It’s OK to resolve to change any time of the year. Here are some tips to help you succeed.

Do you want to quit smoking, join a gym, live on a budget, lose weight, or drink less? Insert your resolution right here.

First, you need to acknowledge that you want to change and believe that you can change.

Second, try to understand what motivates your current behavior. Maybe you eat cookies when you are stressed. You have to come up with a new way to handle stress so you can step away from the cookies.

Third, set realistic and attainable goals.

Rather than, “I want to lose weight” make it specific, “I want to lose x pounds a week to reach a goal of x pounds lost by x date.” Then you do the math. How many calories must I eat and burn a day to reach that goal. Next, you create an exercise and diet plan that burns those calories. Many people depend on groups like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and others to help them create a plan. Finally, it’s important to frequently monitor progress and continue and/or adjust behavior based on results.

Maybe that’s too complicated for you. Then, make a simple goal – I want to eliminate “late night snacks or pop, etc.” By making one change at a time, you will make small steps toward your ultimate goal of losing weight.

This method can work for any resolution.

The urban legend is that we can change a habit in 21 days. Actually, research shows changing a habit takes between 18 and 254 days, depending on the individual. So, if you want to floss, as an example, you’ll need to repeat this new habit daily until it becomes automatic. This is the same for eliminating a habit. Cutting out sugary pop, as an example, requires identifying the times that you drink them and then consciously making the change to water or another no-sugar drink.

Changing a habit takes time, but the rewards are worth it. If you lose focus, it’s not too late to start over. Most people make several failed attempts to stop smoking before they succeed, as an example.

Some bad habits are a result of trauma. Some people need to overcome trauma and learning new ways to cope. We can help. Please call 918.492.2554 with questions and concerns.

All of us at Counseling & Recovery Services hope 2014 will be a year for you!