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Make this New Year your best one ever

Miami Times Editorial Department | 1/1/2014, 9 a.m.

At the beginning of the New Year, many people assemble a list of things they plan to start doing or several nagging bad habits that they intend to break. We often refer to this list of promises as a New Year’s resolution. And while the list usually includes things like changing one’s diet, getting out of debt, exercising, refraining from drinking alcohol and smoking or improving one’s character, studies indicate that close to 88 percent of those who set these resolutions fail to keep them.

In fact, most of us follow the same routine year in and year out — we start the month of January with the best of intentions but after just a few days, we have already broken our promises and ended up in the same place we were the year before. But there are a few resolution-maintenance tips developed by a group of American psychologists that may help you create that long-lasting positive change in your life that you’ve hoped for in year’s past.

First, tell others about your resolution. That way you will have other people supporting you. And since they’re aware of your goals, hopefully they won’t try to tempt you with whatever it is you’re trying to control. Second, chose a measurable and specific resolution that can be defined in units of behavior. Third, build in a reward system that gives you something special for a job well done. Fourth, create resolution visual aids like a picture or some other artifact that you can hang up somewhere in plain sight as a reminder of your resolution goals. Finally, start your resolution off with a bang — like a ceremony or special event. And be creative in how you plan to initiate your resolution.

Yes, resolutions are hard to maintain but we all want to see improvements in our lives and to feel better about ourselves — what better time than the beginning of the New Year?