Here’s how to keep your New Year’s resolutions

Dean also says that visualizing the positive and negative effects of your 
habit can be motivating.

Another new year, another New Year’s resolution. Whether you vow to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more or take on another challenge, making the decision is the first step and committing to it is the second. Then comes the difficult part: sticking with it.

Taking an internal inventory of your habits and why you have them is a good place to start, says psychologist Jeremy Dean, author of “Making Habits, Breaking Habits.”

“A lot of habits are performed subconsciously,” he says. “People light a cigarette or eat automatically. That’s part of the reason it’s hard to break a bad habit. Another problem is self-control issues on top of that.”

Once you’ve done some soul-searching and are ready to change, Dean says it’s less about deprivation and more about substitution. You need to also avoid situations that trigger the habit. For example, if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine, turn your 3 p.m. coffee break into a walk around the office.

“It’s a mistake to suppress the habit,” he says. “Replace it with good ones instead. Make a plan for a new habit and link it to a situation where you perform the bad habit. Look for a point in the day when you will perform the new habit. Each time you repeat a behavior, the habit gets stronger. Over time, it will become automatic.”

Go your own way

There are many common  bad habits — smoking,    overspending and nail-biting, to name a few — but success with quitting isn’t universal:

   

“It’s important to do what’s right for you,” says Dean. “We’re told that exercising in the morning is best. Well, I’m not getting up early to exercise, so I exercise in the afternoon — it suits my schedule. Also, tweak your approach. If it doesn’t work the first time, then move it around a little until it feels right. Breaking habits can take experimentation until it works for you.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Local

Reports: Dead man pulled from water at Boston's…

A dead man was reportedly pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon, according to the Boston Fire Department.

Local

Primark to make US debut in Boston

Dublin retailer Primark will make its U.S. debut with a store at the former Filene's site in Boston.

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Going Out

The Weekly Yelp! Find the comfort of your…

The good news: temps are rising. The bad: you have no excuse to stay on your couch. Of course, if you'd like to sate your…

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

MLB

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has…

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has been off so far in 2014

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."