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How to keep your New Year's resolutions

Small rewards


 - Small rewards

During the first three months of forming your new habit, you will see very little results. In order to keep going, you need to give yourself incentives. 

"People are not good at planning for little rewards. They say 'I want to stop this' so they have the motivation, they start doing it and they forget the second part of the deal which should be 'How am I going to reward my brain every time I succeed in not breaking my resolution.' With no immediate reward, the motivation crashes," Dr. Toledano says. 

So what does a little reward mean? 

Let's say you've decided to go to the gym three times a week. Every time you succeed in going to the gym, be it in the snow, in the cold, in the rain, etc., you need to give yourself something that is rewarding to you. 

"It takes time to design an appropriate reward that is actually achievable," Dr. Toledano warns. "Some people say 'OK well if I quit smoking, I'm going to save eight or nine dollars per pack of cigarettes and six months from now I'm going to go on vacation.' Too far away!"

An example of a reward that Dr. Toledano would give for going to the gym would be that every time you successfully achieve your goal, you treat yourself to a magazine, or a movie with your friends. 

"It has to be small enough that it's affordable and doable, and big enough that it has an impact," she says.


Anne Cohen
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