STOP!!! Don’t Make That Resolution!

By Rhonda Huff, M.Ed, BS Fitness/Wellness, IIN, AADP Holistic Health Coach

Research from the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people achieve their New Year's resolutions. I want to provide you with a simple way to beat those odds.

Most people make resolutions that are either too vague or too complicated. A vague resolution doesn't have a measureable outcome goal. Without a measureable outcome goal, it is impossible to formulate behaviors that will actually support that outcome. A complicated goal overwhelms the prefrontal cortex, leading to higher stress/cortisol reactions and reduced willpower. Translation: "That chocolate cake is calling my name!"

To successfully reach a goal, your prefrontal cortex must be trained to handle the new information in a logical and stress-free manner. The key is to look at your resolution and set a "habit" around that resolution. Research shows that it takes an average of 66 days for a habit to become automatic (Lally et al., 2010). Once that habit is being performed efficiently and without conscious thought, you can safely add a new habit surrounding your ultimate goal.

Let's take the top 10 New Year's resolutions for 2012 and explore one simple behavioral habit that can make a huge difference and lead to a better overall outcome.

These are obviously just examples of one simple behavioral habit. Yours may be a little different but if you follow the basic principle, you will enact permanent and painless change! And remember – once the habit is being done efficiently and without conscious thought, it is time to add one more behavioral habit to master.

Blessings for a healthy, happy, and productive 2014,

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