Serenity Prayer
"God give me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
the courage to change
the things I can,
and the wisdom
to know the difference."

How can you keep your New Year's resolutions from fading?

First, congratulate yourself for having the COURAGE to change.

Second, evaluate why you didn’t keep last year’s resolutions. Chances are the resolutions are the same as last year. Yes, we know the problem. We all have trouble keeping our resolutions over time. And we even forget what the resolutions were in the first place. Therefore, you must begin by reviewing why you didn’t keep that same resolution last year. Was the commitment and the need to change less strong than now? Perhaps you had more competing priorities? What are you going to do differently this year? Einstein defined insanity as – “Continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results”. Our guru Moms Mabley used to say: “If you keep on doing what you always did, you’ll keep on getting what you always got!” This year make some changes.

Third, write down the resolutions-no more than two (and depending on what the resolution is e.g.-stopping smoking, losing weight, managing your stress, - maybe only one). Also, make the resolution as clear as possible e.g. losing weight is too vague – decide what you are going to do specifically. What are the specific goals, how are you going to do it and what are the time lines?

Fourth, understand and be clear about why you are making a lifestyle change. This is your motivating factor. If you're clear about why, then when keeping the resolutions start to get difficult-and that will happen- revisiting the "why" will help to keep the motivation alive.

Fifth, make a contract with yourself and a commitment that you vow to keep for a lifetime not just for a holiday season.

Sixth, seek assistance before you start e.g. telling your family members and friends as they are resources of help, support and information. Get as much information regarding the resolution as possible before starting – and for stopping smoking or losing weight talk to your doctor, and explore free programs provided by the American Lung Association, weight loss programs, community health centers.

Finally, celebrate each step you take - for example, exercising 5 more minutes each day, drinking 8 glasses of water per day, learning a daily stress management program. Nothing is too small to feel good about. Small steps create confidence and add up to success over time.