Most Resolutions Won't Make It to February

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Research shows the vast majority of New Year's resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. But if you're really committed, commentator Betty Baye has some advice that can help. Baye is a columnist with The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

TONY COX, host:

If you're one of the millions of Americans who made a New Year's resolution yesterday, time, it seems, is not on your side. Research shows that the vast majority of resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. So that gym membership card stays crisp and hardly used in your wallet, you continue to puff a pack a day or more, and the promise to finally pay off your debt goes unfulfilled. On day two of the new year, if you're still committed to your yearlong to-do list, commentator Betty Baye has some advice to help you succeed. She says if you made a life-changing resolution, it's best to keep it to yourself.


If you're like me and by January 3rd or 4th have already forgotten your New Year's Eve resolution, you probably weren't all that committed in the first place. You see, the thing about New Year's resolutions that I found is that they're usually driven less by what we want for ourselves than what we want to do to ourselves to please others.

Now if you believe that you're ready to take on some monumental challenge in 2006, take care whom you tell it to. The last thing you need when you make a big resolution is some amen chorus encouraging you to fail, some dream killer sliding up to you and saying, `Yeah, girl, that's really going to be hard.' Well, when I decided to quit smoking 16 years ago, I didn't tell a soul. I had a three-pack-a-day habit, so I knew that kicking it was going to be very hard to do. At least that's what I thought. I didn't realize that mine was already a made-up mind. It took just one $35 group hypnosis session and, voila, I was cured.

Now hypnosis doesn't work for everyone. I saw one woman from the group actually light up on her way back to the car. But, hey, whatever your Jones happens to be--cigarettes, crack cocaine, food, sex, gambling, overspending or loving Bobby Brown--resolving to heal yourself of your affliction won't mean a thing unless you're committed to change for your sake and nobody else's. You stand a better chance of losing weight when you're disgusted by the sight of your body in the mirror. You stand a better chance to stop smoking when you get sick of burned holes in your furniture and your clothes and walking around smelling like an ashtray. You'll give up the crack when you decide that you want your babies back, want your humanity back.

So, good people, go forth with the New Year's resolutions, but if you know that yours is a habit that you expect is going to be hard to break and that it may take a while, keep that resolution to yourself. That way if you fail, only you will be the wiser. But if you succeed, people won't only be pleasantly surprised, they'll know that it never really was all about them in the first place.

COX: Betty Baye is a columnist with the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.

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