Amber Alert

6 Reasons Resolutions Fail and How to Beat Them

Ever wonder why it's so hard to follow through with your best intentions for self-improvement? As you tie up your running shoes or prepare to step on the scale, consider these resolution roadblocks and some suggestions to overcome them.

Roadblock 1: Last-minute lists. People who make thought-out resolutions may have a higher success rate. Next year, don't wait until the ball drops to start setting your goals.

Roadblock 2: Extreme makeover. Striving for drastic changes can feel overwhelming and may even sabotage your best efforts. Instead, set a reasonable (realistically achievable) goal. And to get there, try making small (incremental) steps you can live with over the long haul.

Roadblock 3: Lack of support. Everyone can benefit from a coach--or at least a cheerleader--now and then. A little support can go a long way to boost your motivation and accountability. So share your goals, and recruit a friend to act as your personal coach. (Have you tried the "Personal Goals" area of www.EatBetterAmerica.com?)

Roadblock 4: Fear of failing. Join the crowd: Only 40% of us achieve and maintain their top resolution for a period of six months on their first try. Most people attempt a change multiple times before succeeding. (But who's counting?) So don't get discouraged--each day is a new opportunity to begin again.

Roadblock 5: Forgetting to celebrate along the way. It's important to track your progress--no matter how great or small. Write down your starting point, acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, and record how you cope with challenges along the way.

Roadblock 6: Neglecting your spirit. The majority of resolutions are aimed at changing a physical state or a behavior--for instance, quitting smoking, losing weight, or beginning an exercise program. But a positive mental outlook can help you succeed. At the end of each day, take time to remember your strengths and all that you have to be thankful for.

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