New Year, New You?

Are you someone that makes New Year's Resolutions? I am! While I know you can make changes at any time of the year, there's something about a new year that just sparks a need to make a big change.

Dec. 30th, 2020

Are you someone that makes New Year's Resolutions? I am! While I know you can make changes at any time of the year, there's something about a new year that just sparks a need to make a big change.

Apparently, I'm not alone in this urge for self-improvement. According to, almost 75% of adult Americans say they're determined to: learn something new, make a lifestyle change, or make a personal goal for self-improvement for 2021. Just under 50% of resolutions are related to "health", and 37% of resolutions centred around "self-improvement".

However, the failure rate for New Year's resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most "resoluters" lose their resolve by mid-February. This is a common scenario that happens at the gym; when you compare numbers in January versus March and you see a gradual drop in gym-goers.

Of men and women and all generations, the main reason we’re not able to see resolutions to success is because we “don’t have the willpower.” Others blame it on forgetting, being too lazy or some other reason. I think most resolutions fail because 1) goals may be lofty at the beginning (you should start small and build up) 2) conviction and confidence aren't assessed, and 3) no check-ins to see how the resolution is coming along

Enter the power and potential of Brief Action Planning. Simply put, Brief Action Planning (BAP) is a self-management support approach to help people make action plans to address the aspects of their health or situation that are most important to them. I believe a modified version of this can be done on yourself to assess: what's important to you (person-centred), your confidence in making this change (i.e. how likely you are to complete or attempt the change), and to check-in to see what needs to be changed.

BAP is currently being used in diverse care settings including primary care, home health care, rehabilitation, mental health and public health to assist and empower patients to self-manage ongoing chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and depression. BAP is also being used to assist people to develop action plans for disease prevention. I believe that it can be truly useful in developing action plans and making behavioural changes for healthy lifestyle and eating habits.

To develop a Brief Action Plan for yourself, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is there something I would like to do for my health in the next week or two? (note that we don't choose year, because we are working small in order to build confidence)
  2. Try to be as specific as possible with your change or plan (e.g. I would like to walk on the treadmill for 25 minutes in my basement. I will start this Monday.) [think of the questions who, when, where, what, how often, how long, or how much, and the start date]

  3. How confident do I feel about this plan?

    If it's 7 or more on a scale of 1 to 10. Great!

    If it's less than 7, you'll have to tweak your plan and do some problem solving so that you can raise your confidence. (e.g. I would like to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes a day, three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) Studies have shown that you are more likely to complete a plan if your confidence is higher than 7.

Check in with yourself, or someone else in 1-2 weeks. Continue and modify plan (e.g. increase time on treadmill or frequency), or make a new plan if the previous plan didn't work.

Brief Action Planning (especially done on yourself) works well for supporting people who are already thinking about change and need some help getting started.

Making behavioural changes can also take time. Click here to learn about my top 3 tips for time management!

Make yourself a priority, and decide that today is the day! Say "Yes I can" and "Yes I will" to making change and resolutions! As a Brief Action Planning Facilitator, I can help you facilitate change that impact your health or well-being.

If you're not sure how to make a change, or what changes can be made, I can share ideas with you or be your sounding board to bounce ideas off of. Compassion, acceptance, partnership, non-judgmental knowledge sharing, and evocation is what you'll get if we work together.

For those that already have an idea of what they want to change and how to facilitate this change, I am very happy for you! But, I am also here for those who need knowledge, support, and guidance.

Until next time - stay safe, and stay strong!

- Janet

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