New Year’s resolutions: We have all set them and we have all broken them. Whether it is to lose weight, stop smoking, or spend more quality time with our loved ones, New Year’s resolutions involve behavior change. Achieving and maintaining change can be challenging. After all, behavior patterns develop over time and it takes time to develop new patterns. For those who look ahead to the new year with personal goals, here a few tips for success:

  1. Set realistic goals. One of the greatest reasons for failing to meet a personal goal is that the goal is unrealistic. So, keep it obtainable.
  2. Be kind to yourself.  Behavior change does not happen overnight. It is a process.  There will be good times that are consistent with your goals, and times that are not quite so good.  Allow yourself to make a mistake from time to time. Do not dwell on it or be unkind to yourself because of it. Make useful meaning of it. Learn from it. And, move forward toward your goal.
  3. Remember that success is motivating. Track your progress and set smaller goals on the course to your end goal. Meeting goals feels good and this motivates behavior, so set goals en route and empower yourself to keep going.
  4. Think about thinking. Our own thoughts can keep us from achieving our goals. Identify unreasonable, inaccurate, and unhelpful thoughts that lead to negative feelings and self-sabotaging behavior. Then, change them. Thoughts that are realistic and consistent with our goals are more likely to positively affect our emotional experience and promote desirable behavior.
  5. Reward yourself. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to encourage desirable behavior. So, go ahead, praise yourself for every success, no matter how small. It will help you to continue your efforts.

Best wishes for a great 2013 and achieving all you hope to achieve.


Dr. Deibler

photo available at: 123rf



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    Last reviewed: 30 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Deibler, M. (2012). New Year’s Resolutions 101. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2015, from



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