3 Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

Now that the Christmas is over, it’s time to start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. Will be to stop smoking, lose weight, start balancing work and personal life? Those are just some of the biggies. So before you create a New Year’s resolution, ask yourself how many times you have created one that you were successful with. Why did it work? Why didn't it work? Here are three steps to make this New Year’s resolution stick.

1) Make a list of all the things you are considering for your resolution.
Get a piece of paper and think about the different areas of your life that you would like to work on. This is not about judging yourself or beating yourself up, so do it from a place of nurturing yourself.

2) Pick one resolution
You may want to work on many different things that have been on your mind for years, but let’s tackle one at a time. You can save the others for future resolutions.

3) Break this one resolution down into smaller steps
For example, if it is to lose weight then it will be hard to start exercising and change your diet at the same time. So break it down into steps and add a timeframe to it. Slowly add the next step when you feel that you are ready for it.

Step 1: Research and join a gym. Timeframe: one week.
Step 2: Start going to the gym two to three times a week. Timeframe: six to eight weeks.
Step 3: Meet with a nutritionist. Timeframe: one week.
Step 4: Implement a change in one meal of the day. Timeframe: three to four weeks.
Step 5: Implement a change in a second meal. Timeframe: three to four weeks.
Step 6: Implement a change in a third meal. Timeframe: three to four weeks.
Then you can focus on snacks.

You may feel that you want to do everything at once, but think about how many times that has failed. Bestselling-author Leo Babauta estimates that when people focus on changing a single behavior at a time, the likelihood that they’ll retain their new habit for a year or more is around 80%. Those who try to change two or more at one time have a success rate as low as 20%

I hope you have a Happy New Year, and I look forward to sharing my stress-management techniques with you in 2013!


Natalie Shay is a Psychotherapist and Stress Management Counsellor at Clear Medicine. She works with individuals and consults with organizations with respect to topics such as stress management, burn-out prevention, work/life balance and emotional eating. She works with clients to help them overcome ineffective habits and create healthier new ones. Natalie can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (416) 726-5631.

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