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December 30, 2018: Resolutions

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

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New Year's Resolutions have been a favorite tradition since the Babylonian era. It's a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to self-improvement in the new one. This week, we’re going to talk about preparing for the new year and getting a jumpstart on the 2019 version of you.

Why resolutions often fail

Unfortunately, most of us are guilty of giving up on resolutions almost as quickly as we make them. A Franklin Covey poll studied 15,000 customers with resolutions and found that 4 out of 5 failed to complete them and a third of those didn't make it to the end of January. Ugh.

Resolutions fail due to a combination of unrealistic goals and a lack of accountability. We resolve to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, but according to neuro-psychologists, trying to make a change by not doing something, e.g., NOT smoking or NOT eating sugar, only makes these habits stronger. These behaviors have been ingrained in our brains and trying to change a habit requires rewiring our brains and creating new neural pathways to form new thinking.

According to University College London, it takes 66 days to create a habit. If you think of it as 66 days to change what is most likely years of a behavior, that’s pretty quick. But, in reality, if 4 out of 5 failed to complete a resolution and third of them didn't make it to the end of the first month, 66 days seems like a lifetime.

Yes, you can still succeed!

Humans are evolving creatures, and when we want to truly change our behavior, there are ways to succeed. Start by simply creating a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound (SMART) goal. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” try, “I want to lose 15 lbs in 66 days by jogging for 20 minutes in the morning, 4 times a week.” Along with your SMART goal, have a well thought-out plan that includes what to do when there are bumps in the road. There will always be rough spots and we need to anticipate these so we avoid quitting at the first obstacle.

Remember that small victories lead to a big accomplishment. For example, losing 1 lb a week seems insignificant, but if you continue this trend for 66 days you will have lost almost 10 lbs, and if you commit for the rest of the year you have the potential to lose more than 50 lbs. Celebrate every small victories, because that’s what they are: victories. If you haven't smoked in a week, that's a huge reason to celebrate, not with a cigarette, of course, but perhaps a massage, something relaxing to recharge you for the next week.

Finally, track your progress and have an accountability buddy. Having someone to share your successes with and vent to when you're struggling helps keep you both on track. Another great way is to make your progress visible (photographic evidence!) so you're constantly being reminded how you've succeeded so far and how much further you have until your next triumph.

The behaviors we are trying to change will always be there and there will be times where we revert to those old behaviors. Don’t beat yourself up, though. Get right back to your plan. If we don't focus on the slips, our new habits will become more influential and instead of a singular resolution, it will start a path to a lifestyle change.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about staying on track in the new year.

Want some expert help with reaching your health goals painlessly? Check out my programs! We’ll get everything taken care of in a way that fits into your current lifestyle so you never have to think about your health again.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

My weekly GYSTS email give you one actionable thing to do for the week that will make you life a little easier. As "they" say, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." Get these emails (and more!) delivered right to your inbox by clicking HERE.