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New Year’s Resolutions Can Be Hazardous to Your Health, Researcher Says

December 28, 1985

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) _ New Year’s resolutions may do more harm than good because most are not followed more than a few weeks, a University of Scranton psychologist said Friday.

While millions may resolve to stop smoking, lose weight or otherwise change their lives, Dr. John Norcross says only about 30 percent manage to keep the resolutions until the end of January.

″An unsuccessful change experience can have a damaging effect on your self-esteem,″ Norcross said. ″As a result, it may be better not to make any resolution than to make one you know you’re not going to keep, because it can start a vicious self-defeating cycle.″

But Norcross and colleague James Prochaska, a researcher at the University of Rhode Island, say they have identified four elements that make ″the successful New Year’s resolver.″

The person must be ready to change, set realistic goals, remove obstacles, such as fattening food for a dieter, and have support from friends and family, Norcross said.

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