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Keeping Resolve Requires Realistic View When Making Resolutions

Holiday Feature Story


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DENTON — Ever make a New Year’s resolution and not keep it? Setting short-term goals that lead to the larger, overall goal increases the likelihood of keeping your resolve, according to a Texas Woman’s University psychologist.

Most people make resolutions because they want to change something about themselves that they don’t like, said Dr. Don Rosen, director of the Counseling Center at Texas Woman’s University. But when results don’t come immediately, many people give up on their resolutions.

“Making those resolutions and keeping them is one of the most difficult tasks for anyone to manage at the beginning of the new year,” Dr. Rosen said. “People also don’t tend to think out their resolutions very well; instead, they tend to make impulsive decisions and rash goals. More than 60 percent of all resolutions are abandoned in the first quarter of the new year.

“Setting sub-goals help you get where you want to be,” he added. “If you want to lose 10 pounds, set a sub-goal of losing 1 pound a month, not losing 10 pounds in one month.”

Taking those small steps — the sub-goals — toward the larger goal helps ensure overall success, Dr. Rosen said. But those resolved to making changes in their lives also must remember there will be some setbacks along the way.

Setbacks are common, Dr. Rosen said. “Use setbacks to reevaluate yourself, as a learning experience and as a tool to make changes for the better,” he said.

“Remember, in baseball if someone hits the ball three times out of 10, he’s doing well,” he added. So don’t become discouraged if you don’t hit your goal every time you take a swing at it.

Dr. Rosen suggests that resolution-makers follow these steps:

  • Assess yourself. Look at your skills and use them to establish steps toward setting goals.
  • Select resolutions based on small increments of achievement — have sub-goals within goals.
  • Keep a daily or weekly ledger or diary of your progress to help monitor behavior.
  • Make a written contract with yourself, specifying the details of your steps.
  • Reward yourself, but not excessively, with material items. Graciously accept and enjoy compliments and positive feedback from peers.
  • Be patient with yourself. Often, people are their own worst critics.

If you revert to your old habits and don’t reach your goal:

  • Admit and analyze your mistakes, and continue with the steps. Don’t be overwhelmed by small setbacks.
  • Seek help from others or those who are trying to accomplish the same thing.
  • Join a support group or enlist the help of friends.

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For Further Information Contact:

Roy Kron
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: rkron@twu.edu

 

 

Page last updated November 9, 2004

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