Dr. Kristin Schaefer-Schiumo| Manhasset NY

Rethinking Resolutions

I am not a fan of traditional New Year's Resolutions. If you struggle to control your anger, to limit sugar intake, or purge toxic relationships throughout the year, it's not likely that an artificial date will change that. In fact, research shows that less than ten percent of people actual achieve and maintain their New Year's resolutions. As you consider working toward lasting and meaningful change in your life, set goals tied to compelling methods for success. For example, losing weight may become a reality for you through true motivation...whether due to a life experience or a doctor's warning. Lasting, meaningful change does not come with an arbitrary date on a calendar, but rather though patience, commitment and thoughtful, steady action. Increase your chances of success by making your goals very clear and the methods even more clear. For example, eating less dessert is far too vague a goal. Instead, try "I will eat one less treat per week until I am eating dessert only once a week." This goal and the steps to achieve it are specific, measurable and therefore more likely to be achieved than a drastic change tied to a arbitrary date. This approach makes it more likely that you will achieve AND maintain your desired outcomes. Remember, sustained change is rarely straightforward and linear and success is not just about willpower. Lasting, meaningful change is difficult, which makes a plan of action absolutely critical. And rest assured, at times you will fall along the way, as we all do. Perhaps you will eat that slice of chocolate cake or yell at a partner. If you do, simply pick yourself up, focus on your successes thus far, and recommit to your plan for future change. Don't be afraid to be bold. Don't be afraid to ask for help. As we say farewell to January and welcome the remainder of 2017 and beyond, remember that true change requires us to accept temporary failures without giving up. If you falter, and you will, get back on track the next day..and the day after that. If you do, true change is within your grasp.