Most people are ready for change, few are ready to change. As the saying goes: "If you fail to plan, plan to fail." And when you're planning here are some principles to keep in mind
1. BE REALISTIC. Don't confuse reasonable expectations with realistic expectations. Reasonable means "makes sense." Realistic means "likely to happen." It may be reasonable to stop smoking, start a new diet and begin exercising, but it may not be realistic to change all of them at once.
2. SET SPECIFIC GOALS. Most people have a clearer idea of how they want to feel (as in happier, healthier, richer) than they have a clear picture of what things need to be done to get there. You know the saying, "Where there's a will, there's a way." The reverse is more often true, i.e. "Where there's a way, there's a will." Have a step-by-step plan for how to achieve your goals.
3. WRITE IT DOWN. You wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, would you? Write down what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing to reach your goals. Writing down your goals and plans increases your commitment.
4. TELL OTHER PEOPLE. Telling other people you're going to do something increases your commitment. Select people that you respect and admire, and whose respect you would like to receive.
5. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM. Partner with someone who is also trying to keep their New Year's resolutions to increase your dedication. Stopping negative habits and replacing them with positive behavior is easier when you have a buddy system with a good friend or co-worker. Doing New Year's Resolutions with another person reduces the pain of doing without that unhealthy habit you're trying to break.
6. ELIMINATE ENERGY VAMPIRES. One reason you fall off diets and exercise programs is that you need a quick fix every time you deal with negative people or no-win situations. These can be so exhausting that you say "the heck with" your diet or exercise and grab a candy bar or bail on exercising. Find a way to reduce contact with these people and situations and you'll dramatically increase your energy and be able to stay on track.
7. STICK WITH IT. Realize that it takes 30 days for a change in behavior to become a habit (this may explain why they give out 30 day chips for maintaining sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous) and six months for a habit to become a natural part of your personality.
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