Maybe you are among the many Australians who still welcome the New Year with resolutions to improve their lives.

But are you one of the still fewer people who actually manage to keep their resolutions?

Why are New Year’s resolutions so easy to make and so very difficult – for most of us – to keep? “The problem is that most resolutions are about changing behavior through discipline, but discipline can’t solve the problem if you don’t address the root cause of the behavior you want to change,” says life-change expert Janice Lindgren.

“The only way to truly change behavior is to change what you want, and our wants are buried deep within our psyches and rooted in our past.”

Although Australian’s seem to be abandoning the tradition of New Year’s resolutions – surveys indicate that less than 45 percent of adults will make resolutions this year – “there is real value in creating a plan, and committing to it, to effect change in your life,” she says.

So what do you need to know in order to succeed with your New Year’s resolutions – and your efforts to improve your life throughout the year? “There’s no one silver bullet that works for everyone,” Lindgren says, “but there are things you should know, and things you can do, that will increase your potential for success.”

Marquette Turner has compiled 5 empowering points to help you stick to your resolutions next year:

1. Do write down your goals or resolutions.
By writing them down, you’ll feel like you are making a contract with yourself. Writing out your thoughts can also help you focus on what you really want to accomplish in the coming year.

2. Don’t overdo it with too many goals at once or with unrealistic resolutions.
“The concept that you have to be better, be harder on yourself or get tough is merely a boot-camp quick fix,” says Lindgren.

Keep your plans simple, specific and manageable or you might find yourself overwhelmed – and more likely to give up. For example, rather than resolving to “eat better” in 2008, refine your goal to “have a salad for lunch at least three times a week.” Instead of “exercise more,” try “walk for 30 minutes four times a week.”

3. Do explore the root of the behavior you want to change.
“The question isn’t whether you’re overeating, not getting enough exercise or sleep, or drinking too much,” Lindgren says. “The question is why are you doing those things? What is the underlying trigger for this behavior?”

Different people have different triggers. Often, our triggers stem from unmet needs or traumas of childhood experience. “What creates change is identifying current triggers and becoming aware of the catalytic events from our past and releasing the underlying emotional energy we carry around those events,” she adds.

4. Do view change as a positive thing.
It’s not unusual or even unreasonable to be cautious of change, but you’ll never be able to achieve your New Year’s resolutions – or any other life-altering goal – if you view change as an enemy. “Growth is nothing more than directed change,” Lindgren says.

5. Don’t go it alone.
If you feel you need help to really achieve your life-changing goals, find friends to keep each other in check.

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