New Year's resolutions are often made, but many people wonder how to be successful in changing behavior. January's Fun Facts column includes information on behavior change and how to be realistic in overcoming unhealthy behaviors. For more information on behavior change, please see the Guide to Behavior Change.
- Examining current health habits and wanting to change is important before choosing a target behavior. Understanding which aspects of your life are negatively influencing your health and wellness is important before acting upon your New Year's resolution.
- Be realistic in your goal. Any behavior change can be difficult, so focusing on a small goal first provides less room for failure. Choosing multiple resolutions at once or beginning with a large health change can cause more stress and be discouraging.
- Think about how your resolution affects your health and wellness and how changing it will transform your life. If you do not change this behavior, willyou have increased health risks? Are you changing this behavior for yourself or someone else? The greatest successes in behavior change stem from self-motivation and changing for yourself.
- If you are motivated to change a challenging behavior that interferes with daily living, but have difficulty accomplishing it on your own, do not be afraid to seek help. Medical professionals are great resources to assist in being successful in a targeted behavior change.
- Recognize the short- and long-term pros and cons of the behavior. Write out how not changing the behavior can affect you positively or negatively and how your life will be affected if you accomplish your resolution. In order to be successful in behavior change, the benefits of changing should be more influential than the cost of giving up the habit.
- Self-confidence plays a huge factor in one's belief of success. If you have confidence in yourself and believe you can conquer your resolution, themore effective you will be at overcoming your unhealthy behavior.
- Use past mistakes to benefit your future. Do not be discouraged by past trial and errors, but instead learn from the mistakes that were made. Understand what the barriers were that lead to failure and prepare for them for your current goal. Before attempting to change, discover ways you canovercome the barriers so you do not make the same mistakes for this New Year's resolution.
Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor
Reference: Fahey, T. (2011). Introduction to Wellness, Fitness, and Lifestyle Management. Fit & Well. Retrieved on December 11, 2012, fromhttp://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0073523720/581906/Chapter_1.pdf