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Kim Ratz

Helping people create more harmony
in their own life, and in
their relationships with others ...

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from Kim Ratz, Speaker-Trainer-Troubadour, January, 2014

Nothing fancy - just a fast, free read to inspire hope,
improve skills to cope, and induce some fun in your day!

Thoughts to Help You Live & WorkWise:

The Difference Between
"Making Resolutions" and "Changing Habits"

Which of these groups describe you?

  • Percent of people who NEVER make New Year's Resolutions: 38%
  • Percent of people who INFREQUENTLY make New Year's Resolutions: 17%
  • Percent of people who USUALLY make New Year's Resolutions: 45%
  • Percent who never succeed on their resolutions each year: 24%
  • Percent who have infrequent success on their resolutions: 49%
  • Percent who succeed in achieving their resolution: 8%
  • How many times are people who make resolutions more likely to attain their goals than people who don't make resolutions? 10 times
(source: Univ. of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, January 1,2014)

Here's what's puzzling: Who doesn't wish that some-thing in their life was different/"better" in some way, and why don't more people make resolutions, especially if it increases their chances of success 10-fold? One frequent problem is that changing a habit takes more patience & persistence than many people are willing to give. For examples:

  • For a behavior change (Lose weight, Spend less/Save more, Quit smoking, Start exercising) most studies agree it takes an average of 30 days to change a habit.
  • For an "external" change you don't have as much control over (compared to your own choices & actions, such as Fall in love, Spend more time with family, Secure a certain job/salary), it may take longer than 30 days to succeed, or even begin to see an impact.

So in both cases: be realistic & persistent, or even 30 days may seem like too long to wait, and you may deny yourself the chance to realize what you otherwise could if you try.

Another mistake people often make is they forget that making the resolution is only a first step; the important thing is what you actually DO to change a habit. So have an "honest conversation with yourself" about your own dreams, and if your thoughts stir some excitement and call for action, I've also added one simple tip to help make efforts more do-able & motivating. Remember: for this technique to work you must pay attention to your first response to a question and be honest with yourself, as this is your "Truth" -- based on your values & beliefs. Also: Don't re-ask a question to come up with a different response because then you're "rationalizing," and that's not in your best interests either ... Okay - here you go:

What specific behavior do you wish to start, stop or change?

  1. What will it take from you for this to happen -- the "What, How, When?"
  2. How commited are you to this goal? How can you strengthen your commitment?
  3. What will you do to "rally" when you feel challenged & discouraged?
  4. What will "success" look like, and what will be your reward?
  5. What do you need to do next?

Planning tip: Once your resolution/goal is developed, circle the date 30 days from that day. Give thought to how to celebrate or reward yourself when you succeed in the behavior change. Look at that date every morning and remind yourself you are one day closer than the day before, and keep taking it one day at a time. For an "external goal," if you've been diligent you should be able to sense success, or at least progress & momentum and see what "success" looks like even more clearly than before. So celebrate your success/progress, recommit to sustain your gain, then consider what you need to do next!

Here is more information from the Univ. of Scranton study you might find interesting:

Top 10 Resolutions for 2014:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, Save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Staying fit & healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others in their dreams
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend more time with family

Type of Resolutions (percent above 100% because of multiple resolutions:

  • Self improvement or education related: 47%
  • Weight related: 38%
  • Money related: 34%
  • Relationship related: 31%

Age Success Rates:

  • Percent of people in their twenties who achieved their resolution each year: 39%
  • Percent of people over 50 who achieved their resolution each year: 14%

Length of Resolution:

  • Maintained through first week: 75%
  • ... through two weeks: 71%
  • ... through one month: 64%
  • ... through six months: 46%

Several reasons people don't succeed re: New Year's Resolutions are highlighted in an interesting article I read by Brian Krans, in which he explained it's really hard for a lot of people to go from the relative "lack of restraint" during the holidays to suddenly becoming a "new person" on January 1. He cites Dr. Coral Arvon, director of behavioral health & wellness at Pritkin Longevity Center & Spa, who offers these tips to help increase your chances of success even further:

  • Don't make too many abrupt changes too quickly. Some people fail because they try do change too many things and can't focus, or get too frustrated and just stop trying ...

  • Fear of failure, the unknown, rejection & success take us out of our comfort zone and stops some people before they create the new desired behavior or habit. Remember what success what look like and the reward/WIIFMs, and press on ...

  • Make resolutions tangible and achievable. Instead of a goal to lose 20 pounds, commit to walking every day for at least 30 minutes. Use whatever method for goal setting style works for you (i.e., write it out, or talk about it)

  • Have a support system. It's likely that you will hit a challenge or feel discouraged, so have at least someone available you can talk to.

  • Set short-term goals. Arvon advocates that it takes 17-21 days to form a habit.

  • Use positive motivation and small rewards to keep you focused.

  • Set your smartphone calendar to give you a positive message or reminder about your goal every day, even multiple times if needed.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you in your quest for whatever change or new situation you seek, and wish you success!

Quotes related to Resolutions for the days ahead ...

Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.

Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.

New Year's Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. - Mark Twain

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.

A New Year's Resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

Be at war with your vices; at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!

I'm a little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit rounder, but still none the wiser.

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right. - Oprah Winfrey

May 2014 bring you: 12 months of Happiness, 52 weeks of Fun, 365 days of Success, 8760 hours of Good Health, 52,600 minutes of Good Luck, and 3,153,600 seconds of Joy.

I specialize in helping people create more harmony in their own life, and in their relationships with others. It's about being Congruent and making good Choices -- by aligning your Attitudes, Aptitudes & Actions -- so that at days end you feel content with your choices, and not regret. This content is applied to outcomes including: Personal Excellence, Communication & Relationship Skills, Teamwork, Customer Service & Leadership. I do this through keynotes and workshops that inspire hope, help people improve their skills to cope with change, challenge and conflict, and original music, stories and humor to induce some fun along the way.

When you need a presenter who shares content, energy and inspiration,
call me so we can discuss what you need, and how I can help!

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