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New Year, New You

a pink book sitting on top of a desk next to a cell phone

As we enter the new year, we are all familiar with the idea of new year’s resolutions.  We want to start the new year with a blank slate; this will be the year we start exercising more, eat healthier, stop smoking, etc. However, frequently we fall short on such hopes for change. In 1983, while conducting a study on smoking cessation, researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente developed the Stages of Change, an extension of their Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM). Becoming the present standard model for change, Prochaska and DiClemente outlined five stages necessary for behavioral change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Over the years, an unofficial sixth stage has been designated, the relapse stage, a recognition that lapses in change are often inevitable. As such, allow yourself to accept occasional missteps, regarding yourself with compassion rather than shame.

When we repeatedly fail to meet a goal, the goal itself is often too big. Additionally, we are much more likely to follow through on change when we are intentional in writing it down and setting aside some time for the intended task. SMART goals are a good tool for increased success. Developed in 1981 by George Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning at Washington Water Power Company, SMART goals refer to Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals.

So, in this new year as you consider your resolutions, prepare yourself for the changes you want to make, and as Nike states “Just do it.” And remember, keep your goals SMART.


Doran, G.T. (1981) There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives. Journal of Management Review, 70, 35-36.

Prochaska, J., & DiClemente, C. (1983). Stages and processes of self-change of smoking: toward an integrative model of change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51(3), 390–395.

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