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  • Dr. Ted Klontz

New Year's Resolutions

If you made one or more resolutions this New Years and have been successful in following through...


You are one of the ten who have been able to follow through on something changing something that we’ve wanted and needed to change. Think about sharing how you did it. Seriously - How about writing a little note of what worked for you and sending it to me?

Then there are those of us who had good intentions, and have not been able to follow through, and others of us who have given up even making such resolutions, because we have tried and failed so often.

Well, research to the rescue. The following are a few tips that scientists have found that increase the likelihood that you will follow through with your commitments to change.

Ask a person you trust to be your accountability person. Tell them what your goal is, share the how when and where you are going to meet it, and ask them to check-in with you from time to time (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly.....) to see how you are doing. It is even better if they have the same goal and you can hold each other accountable.

  • Choose a beginning "date" (a birthday, the beginning of a week, beginning of a month, an anniversary, a holiday, etc.)

  • Set the behavior as a hard and fast "rule" rather than give yourself permission on a daily basis to either do it or not.

  • Plan celebrations/rewards along the way. Build those in from the beginning.

  • Give your accountability $100.00 or more, in cash, an amount that would be painful for you to lose, that they get to keep if you don't keep your resolution. If you are successful, they give it back to you. Or, if you do not keep your commitment, ask them to donate that amount to a “cause” (political party, social cause, religious institution, etc.) that you could not imagine EVER supporting financially.

These are just a few strategies that research has found that increases our intrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from the inside; we really want to), rather than extrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from the outside; our "shoulds".

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