No resolutions made, so no resolutions will be broken…

Rather than New Years resolutions that I know I will break a better solution is to make a simple commitment to change my attitude. By doing so it won’t be necessary to itemize the multitude of things I need to do a better job at. The perceived enormity of the changes one may feel pressured to undertake can often lead to more procrastination which is a motivation killer.

Denial, I have found to be the trademark of many behavioral problems. Effective change becomes possible only when the state of denial ends. One behavioralist proposes a model that illustrates how effective change occurs. The initial stage is one of contemplation or conscious acknowledgement of existence of a problem. During this stage the individual can verbalize that they own a certain behavior that they no longer wish to possess. This stage may be brief or may linger on indefinitely, depending on how much motivation the person has and whether the environment is conducive or not.

The next stage is the most crucial, known as the putting the plan into action stage. The challenge here is maintaining motivation to follow through. Positive feedback is the key to success. This feedback originates internally and externally. A sense of achievement and pride in progress made encourages the individual to continue the desired behavior. The support people offer praise and encouragement in the form of compliments or other reward. This is a key principle of child rearing and parenting. Many psychiatric and psychological cases are a direct result of parental failure here during the developmental years.

The action stage takes the individual to the last stage which too relies heavily on the support system and self esteem. Many patients I have seen have difficulty reaching or maintaining this final state of a sense of well being due to co dependency traits. If they have a partner who is lagging or resistant to their own change, support is often withheld by that partner. The person then must choose to develop more independence and self esteem or to drift back under the influence of denial. It can be reasonably assumed when a person of normal intelligence continues to engage in self defeating or non productive behaviors that make no sense to an observer, that person is in the grips of denial. In the deepest denial one denies that as being the case.

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