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Tips for successful New Year's resolutions

Resolutions December 29, 1996
Web posted at: 11:45 p.m. EST

From Correspondent Andrew Holtz

(CNN) -- It's that time of year again -- time to put out the cigarettes and break out the exercise gear.

New Year's resolutions are at hand. But while most people have similar goals -- quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more -- few people actually keep their self-promises.

Instead, according to experts in the field, they fall victim to their own temptations.

Psychiatrist Jeffrey Kelsey says he has the secret to resolution success. He believes it comes down to three things -- preparation, planning and confidence.

Here are a few tips, according the Dr. Kelsey, for plotting a successful strategy to keep your New Year's resolutions:

Resolution

  • Plan a response to temptations. If you're trying to cut down on sweets and someone offers you a cookie, what are you going to say? Having a ready-made answer makes it easier to just say no.

  • Don't set goals beyond your reach. If you say you're going to exercise everyday, Dr. Kelsey says your doomed to failure. But if you promise to exercise three times a week, you have seven chances to make it happen.

  • Reward yourself for good behavior. Purchase a CD or book with the money you saved by not buying cigarettes. Dr. Kelsey believes people realize a habit has its rewards, and they need to replace them with other rewards.

  • Keep a diary or journal. Charting your success can be helpful when you're ready to quit exercising or start smoking again. A journal helps you recognize your positive steps and makes it harder to go back to the same old habits.

And remember that a well-designed plan can boost the odds that healthy resolutions won't go up in smoke.

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