In January, upon conclusion of all the New Year’s festivities, I see some events that occur year after year. They are positively intended and excellent in theory, yet I don’t believe that they work very well for most people.

The first event I see, is a flurry of stories in newspapers, on television and on line, about New Year’s Resolutions. Every year these lists tend to look about the same and are filled with scads of common sense ideas like losing weight, eating healthier, becoming better organized and managing one’s time more effectively.

In fact, the suggestions are so good that all of us should do each and every one of them. The problem is, that it is impossible to do all of them. By introducing too much change at one time, we tend to be overwhelmed and give up before we can get any tangible results.

One strategy for success is to select one thing to work on. Yes, choose only one! Create a list of the things you would like to do or change, then pick the most important one. Once you feel like it’s a regular habit, then move on to the second most important item on your list. Executive coach Dr.

Marshall Goldsmith believes “the best way to change everything, is to not change everything. Just change something.”

The second event I see every year is at the gym. During the first three weeks of January the place is packed with people I have never seen before. A personal trainer told me that it is a recurring phenomenon. A large number of people work out for a few weeks at the rollover of the New Year, then give up and don’t return until next year at this time.

Habits and behavioral patterns take time and effort to change. Depending on the person it can often take four to six weeks of hard work to break an old habit and integrate a new one. For those that go to the gym for three weeks, it just isn’t a long enough amount of time to make it stick.

One great way to make it into February is to retain a personal trainer for weekly sessions for two to three months. The trainer will help you to get beyond the three week time frame, hold you accountable and teach you how to do appropriate exercises correctly. If you can shift to a monthly session after that, it will keep you exercising throughout the year. Another suggestion is to keep track of how often you work out and what you did. By keeping a log, it is easy to measure just how much you are working out or not.

One thing to keep in mind, getting better faster usually will cost some money. There was a clip on a national morning news show recently that was discussing ways to save money. One suggestion they had was to cancel your gym membership if you were not using it. My advice is different. If you signed up for a gym membership in the first place, start using it.

I created my own list of New Year’s resolutions and fell into the same trap. I came up with over 20 great ideas. If I were to implement all of them, it would keep me busy until year 2020 and beyond. I hope to post my list one by one in the coming months, as I think they are a little different than they typical list of things we see year after year.