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Originally published Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:34 PM

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Breaking New Year’s resolution shouldn’t shatter you

Resolutions not going so well? Take a deep breath and forgive yourself. Then start making some right decisions until they become a habit.


Special to The Times

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Forty percent of people make a New Year’s resolution, and by February, 36 percent have dropped it.

If you are one of these people, it’s not too late.

Maintaining resolution momentum can be tough. By their very nature, resolutions are the goal of adopting a new habit, and habits take weeks of intentional consistency before they become ingrained. It’s a mental challenge, not a physical one.

The first thing to do is take a deep breath and forgive yourself. You’re human, a pretty awesome human, and despite your awesomeness you can’t be a pillar of self-control and perfect choices 24 hours a day. If you could, you wouldn’t need a resolution in the first place, right?

Remember that success, like most things in life, is not a straight, linear path. It actually looks more like a clump of discarded thread — a scrambled mess of ups, downs, twists, turns and dead ends. But as long as you are patient and keep following it, you’ll eventually reach the end.

Any time you slip up, which will happen, take it as a learning opportunity. Instead of ignoring it or sweeping it under the rug to avoid guilt, take time to reflect and pinpoint the moment you decided to make the wrong decision.

It’s always a choice: You decided to pick the cookies over the piece of fruit, you decided to hit the snooze button instead of getting up for the gym. Once you know where you went wrong, make a plan for how to avoid that next time. Then, make the next decision a healthy one to get you moving in the right direction again.

If you slipped up, don’t give yourself free rein to make poor decisions the rest of the day. It’s easy to tell yourself I already screwed up, so I might as well go nuts. But the first slip rarely has an effect. It’s the continued backward momentum of numerous poor decisions after the initial one that make an impact.

One doughnut will not make you gain weight. A box of doughnuts, or a doughnut every day, will make you gain weight, and the No. 1 New Year’s resolution for Americans is to lose weight.

Feeling better? Good.

I’m a big believer that you can’t be healthy if your mindset isn’t, and a black or white, pass or fail mentality toward goals isn’t healthy or fair to yourself.

Your health is important, which includes your mental health. So when you get your mind right, it’s easier to make right decisions in terms of your physical health.

Soon, making those right decisions turns into a habit, and you can successfully cross your 2014 New Year’s resolution off the list.

Kelly Turner is a fitness freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter at

@KellyTurnerFit.



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