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December 27th, 2013 |

New Year, New Resolution, New You

At this time every year, we make resolutions for the future. Often times those resolutions are about getting healthy, losing weight, eating better, and other healthful adjustments to daily living. Unfortunately, shortly after these resolutions are made they are discontinued or placed “on hold”. This year it is possible to make the change and stick to it. All it takes is following the 5 steps of the “stages of change” within the “transtheoretical”, or behavior change, model. These steps include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

  1. Pre-contemplation- Unprepared to make a change in your behavior.
  2. Contemplation- Determine the change you want to make in your life.
  3. Preparation- Collect all of the things you need to make your resolution.
  4. Action- Make your change and keep it.
  5. Maintenance- Keep your resolution for 6 months. You have finally reached maintenance.

These are all necessary things to consider. When you make a mistake or misstep with your resolution, it is not over. The stages of change account for moving backward. If you are not maintaining your resolution and return to the contemplation stage, you can work back up to the action stage. It takes 6 months—I know that is a long time—from  the start of your behavior change to reach maintenance. However, it does takes 6 months for things to become a habit.

As you are probably in the contemplation stage right now, you should consider a few things when deciding on this year’s resolution.

  1. Make it simple.
    • A resolution with 10 changes is much harder to keep than a resolution with 1 or 2 changes.
  2. Make it specific.
    • A clear resolution is easier to keep. Instead of resolving to be healthy, resolve to include more vegetables in your diet daily, drink more water, etc.
  3. Make it feasible.
    •  A resolution should be a change that you can make. If your gym commitment is maxed out, resolve to take the stairs more often instead of the elevator at work.

I hope you will consider this food for thought when forming your New Year’s resolution. Happy 2014!

By Stephanie Snell, guest blogger, Master’s Candidate in Nutrition at Tufts University