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Put Some Resolve in Your New Year's Resolution

It's that time of year again -- when we resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, and exercise more. But, surveys show, in just six months, over half of us will have given up.

How can you finally make your resolutions stick this year?

Psychologist and "Early Show" contributor Dr. Jennifer Hartstein discussed four ways to make your goals hang around through the year.

Why do our goals seem to fall away so quickly?

Hartstein said, "Most of the time, it's because we set goals that we don't really like. Why do we have to do them? I mean, they're bad. But it's kind of what's expected. We have to make it happen. So, they fail most of the time because we set these gigantic goals, and they're really unattainable. And then when we can't see any immediate gratification, we quit."

She added, "We have always thought, 'If I just stick -- you know our stick-to-it-iveness will keep us in there.' And the truth of the matter is, it's not enough, when we get stressed out and overwhelmed with other things, our willpower is the first thing to go. We want something that will make us feel better now. We have to retain our brain into thinking about things more positively. You want to associate what you working towards with something positive. I want to lose weight and feel better and healthy. Imagine what will feel like and imagine the reverse. Start with really kind of the smallest meaningful tasks as practice. You wouldn't run a marathon without training. You wouldn't jump into a really long-term goal without training your brain a bit. You think of your brain as a muscle. Train it to jump into your resolution and be ready."

Hartstein shared these tips to help kick off your resolution efforts:

Plan Ahead
"You have a week before it's New Year's. Start to get things ready now," she said. "If you want to be organized, start to get the containers, the folders, the whatever. ... You want to think about what's going to help you get ready. If you want to lose weight and be at the gym have you joined yet, do you have your new clothes? Think about what you want and get ready so come January 1, you are ready."

Set Realistic Goals
Hartstein said, "You want to set a larger goal and break it down into smaller pieces. So, you want them to be attainable, realistic, simple and have a time frame, so you can see progress all along the way."

Have a Setback Plan
"Say it's super cold and you get sick, and you aren't doing what you want to be doing," Hartstein said. "Most of us focus on health as one of our main resolutions, so if you can't because you are sick and lose momentum, you may have a hard time getting into momentum or had the piece of cake at the birthday party. Say to yourself, 'One piece of cake doesn't mean I failed entirely.' Get back on the horse. Your friends probably have the same goal, work with a partner or get a buddy."

Reward Yourself
"If we are breaking things down into little, bite-sized pieces, reward each piece so you feel you are feeling good and getting that immediate gratification that will keep you motivated. So recognize that and do that as much as you can," she said. "Pat yourself on the back, give yourself praise, buy yourself something -- anything like that."

For more with Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, click on the video below.

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