How Monday resolutions can help you beat the odds

- Monday may be the perfect day to give ourselves a New Year's resolution reboot.

We started strong: 2017 was the year we were going to get in shape, nix the smokes, go fresh instead of Southern fried.

And, now?  

Now we're struggling.

Surveys show only about 8 percent of Americans succeed at their New Year's resolutions.

Change can be hard, says Dr. Colleen McBride, Ph.D., the Grace Crum Rollins Chair of Behavioral Sciences at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.

The problem with New Year's resolutions, McBride says, is many of us go a little overboard.

 "I think what sets us up for failure in any resolution is that it's ambitious. And we haven't really thought it through very clearly, and made the plans and anticipated what's going to get in the way."

So, how about next Monday, we all hit "reset" and start over on our resolutions?

"We should be saying, 'Hey, Monday is a new day,'" says McBride.  "Try to do things differently this week.  And try to make it that narrow. That that may make it much more achievable."

That is the goal behind the Mondays Campaign: a non-profit initiative created by public health experts at Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse.

The idea is to give us 52 chances a year to get healthy, instead of 1.

All we have to do  is reboot our resolution, or health goal, on the first day of each week.

Research studies show Monday is the one day of the week people are most likely set a new goal, like quitting smoking.

"If basically what people are committing to is being healthy, Monday through Friday, yeah." says McBride.  "That would translate into big health benefits."

McBride says we know from research that it takes about 3 months for a new habit to stick.

And there is a lot of trial and error in making a major lifestyle change.  

"But when you do something only for a short time, you learn," McBride says.  "You learn about what worked, and what didn't work."

A Monday reboot also reduces the down time between our slip-ups and our start-overs.

McBride says setting smaller weekly goals can help keep us stay focused, and give us a taste of success. 

"You start to say, 'Hey, I felt better this week. I had more energy. I got to talk to a friend because we went for a walk together. I did things that I wouldn't have normally done," she says.  "And that's good. And that's reinforcing to make you want to keep doing it." 

To read about the Mondays Campaign, visit www.mondayscampaign.org.

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