Five Strategies to Ensure You’ll Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Jane,
I always break my New Year’s resolutions. What can I do differently this year?

This is the time of year when we tend to do two things:
1. We stand in front of a mirror and reprimand ourselves for all our bad habits.
2. We promise that “we shall overcome” these same bad habits beginning January 1.

And what tends to happen by mid-January? We are back to where we were, only worse because now we are really beating ourselves up for our behaviors. So how do we get out of this self-flagellating, humiliating vicious cycle?

Here are 5 strategies to boost your chances that you will actually keep your promises to yourself:

1. Start small. If you want to lose 20 pounds, make a resolution to lose five pounds. Then when you have achieved this goal, make a new agreement with yourself. It’s much easier to continue with a new habit that’s working than to set the bar so high that anything less will feel like failure.
2. Isolate one behavior you are willing to modify. If you are resolving to work out, for example, do you need to get up a half an hour earlier? Exercise during lunch hour? If you are resolving to lose weight, are you willing to cut down on alcohol or sweets or fats? Are you willing to trade in your cheeseburger and fries for a salad? Be honest about what you are willing to do and you won’t disappoint yourself down the line.
3. Start with a clean slate. Most of us pick the same resolution every year. This is a setup for shame and self-blame. Get creative. Think of something you’d like to do or do differently that you haven’t considered before. You’re more likely to succeed when you start from a neutral place rather than in the red.
4. Explore what’s been holding you back. Resistance usually has a fear underlying it. What are you afraid of if you succeed? Rejection? Isolation? Abandonment? In Enough Is Enough!, Chapter 5, Break the Spell of Fear, I discuss how to make fear your ally.
5. Voice your commitment. Tell someone else what you intend to do so that they can help support you if you waiver. Give them permission to remind you how important this resolution was to you on December 31.

You have the responsibility (ability to respond) to treat yourself with dignity, respect, and compassion when you make your New Year’s resolutions. Make this your year for win/win experiences with yourself.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation,, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at

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