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I guess it's traditional to say a few words about New Year's resolutions at the beginning of the year, so here goes. The statistics say that only about half of us make New Year's resolutions and only about 1 out of 5 people that make them, keep them. You couldn't tell by going to my gym, though, since the place is uncomfortably crowded these days. But, as usual, about a month from now people's motivation will wane and I'll be able to get on my favorite elliptical trainer again. Resolutions are made to be broken, but goals, on the other hand, can keep us focused all year.

So, how do you keep yourself motivated to accomplish the goals that you set for yourself this year? Well, if you know MI, why not use the techniques that you use to motivate your clients to motivate yourself? MI is about eliciting "change talk" from your clients. The more change talk, the more likely people will change. What is your favorite technique for eliciting change talk from your clients and can you use it to help motivate yourself?

One of my favorite techniques is the "decisional balance" technique. To use this technique, you ask yourself four questions. It's a great idea to write down your answers. The four questions, in the most productive order, are:
What are the advantages of the status quo?
What are the disadvantages of the status quo?
What are the disadvantages of change?
What are the advantages of change?

You can apply these questions to almost any kind of change you are contemplating in the new year, whether it be to lose a few pounds, get physically fit, further your education, improve your relationships, learn how to race motorcycles, whatever you are thinking about changing in your life. When you look over what you have written, you’ll see lots of change talk, or, in this case, change writing. Do any of the statements you read lead you to commit to change? Little will change without the commitment to do so. In MI we distinguish between several different kinds of change talk, with commitment talk being the most powerful. While statements about wanting to, being able to, needing to, and so forth can eventually lead to change, it is only commitment which predicts true, long lasting change. Commitment language is “I will change.” When you commit to change then the desire, ability, reasons, and need for change will keep you motivated.

So, when you are thinking about your goals for the new year, remember that MI is not just for your clients but can be a great help in keeping yourself motivated on the path you choose. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Bill

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