Why New Year’s resolutions fail

Empowerment coach offers tips to ensure successful commitments to change

As 2006 draws to a close, millions of people are making their new year’s resolutions, promises they’ve resolved to keep in 2007. Yet, statistics show that the average time it takes a person to break a new year’s resolution is two weeks to one month.

According to Helen Burton, a certified empowerment and recovery coach, it isn’t stress, lack of motivation, lack of time, or a failure of willpower that results in breaking the commitments.

“Most resolutions fail because support systems were not in place at the start,” she says.

Whether the outcome is weight loss, sobriety, reducing debt or becoming more organized, Burton suggests the first step is to survey the situation to understand your options. “Once you focus on the real goal at hand, you can easily break it down into mini-goals that are achievable.”

Burton is a certified coach who helps both addicts and their loved ones work through the pain and develop a plan for a purposeful future. She founded Love Yourself Coaching (www.loveyourselfcoaching.com) in 2001, to meet the ongoing need of empowering others to create healing and live better lives.

She offers the following tips to help provide the support to make any resolution an accomplished one:

1) Work on only one major goal at a time. “More than one resolution can be overwhelming, so just stick with one,” says the coach. “Practice the same tools and techniques over and over again until they become a habit before tackling other methods.”

2) Find someone you can rely on to keep you on track. “Whether it’s a loved one, a friend, or a coach, find someone who cares enough about you to see you succeed,” says Burton. “Touch base with him or her weekly or more often, if needed, to keep you successful in achieving your goal.”

3) Schedule a meeting with yourself. Burton suggests giving yourself at least 30 minutes each week to reflect on the goal and find the direction you want to take.

4) Keep rewards small and frequent. “Large and distant rewards distract from the pleasure of achieving goals,” she says. “So give yourself small gifts for every small goal you achieve.”

5) Celebrate every milestone. “We often see what we haven’t accomplished, rather than the steps that we have taken. Any effort or energy you give to what you haven’t accomplished will only slow you down,” she says. “Celebrate every accomplishment, keep the momentum going, and focus on today.”

For more information about Love Yourself Coaching, contact Burton at Helen@LoveYourselfCoaching.net.

From the Dec. 27, 2006-Jan. 2, 2007, issue

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