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Gateway Tip: Mindfulness Solutions to Boost New Year's Resolution Success

CHICAGO, December 31, 2014

According to a 2014 study analyzing the custom of making New Year's resolutions, approximately 45 percent of Americans declare annual intentions, however only 8 percent achieve them. To increase resolution success rates in 2015, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment recommends mindfulness to help ease the burden of change.

Boost New Year's Resolution SuccessRegardless of the goal—from losing weight to getting organized to saving money—an effective way to break bad habits is to form good habits incompatible with the behaviors people want to change, and stick with it. The reward may not be apparent at first as it can take several months on average to form a new habit through repetition.

"When a person is mindful and makes a concerted effort to 'stick with it' eventually new connections to the brain's reward center will form. When this happens, the new behavior becomes easier and easier, and as a result the person has a healthier habit to replace a less desirable one," explains Dr. John Larson, Medical Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

How can mindfulness improve resolution success? Mindfulness is a mind-body technique involving awareness of breath, which induces the relaxation response–a physiological response in which blood pressure drops, heart rate slows and stress hormone levels decrease. With a little guidance and practice, mindfulness can help de-program conditioned responses, which can undermine self-awareness and personal growth.

To keep New Year's resolutions in 2015 and beyond, try these simple tips that promote mindfulness:

  • Sit on it, then commit. People tend to stick to goals that are in line with their core values. So take time to reflect and prioritize before penning resolutions on paper.
  • Celebrate progress. From the start, create a game plan for each goal and determine milestones. Prominently display a calendar to tracks all events and activities related to resolutions, including milestones and rewards to encourage the "stick with it" factor.
  • Roost with birds of a feather. To benefit from positive influences of others, seek out people or frequent places with others likely to share similar goals. Join a running club or meet ups, explore yoga studios (many offer free community classes), volunteer for local charity groups, join a professional networking group, take class at park district, etc.
  • Visual affirmation. Visual prompts keep help what matters most front and center. Post pictures and inspiring notes in car, office and throughout home.

For people who need help in attaining resolutions related to drinking alcohol or drug use, Gateway can help get life back on track. Visit RecoveryGateway.org to learn about a confidential consultation.

About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Gateway's Community Division has treatment centers located throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Chicago, Lake County, Fox Valley, Springfield, and the St. Louis Metro East area. These centers offer residential and outpatient treatment services for adults, teens, and adolescents accessed through insurance, state funding, and self-pay.

Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about insurance coverage, treatment options, or Gateway's confidential consultation at RecoverGateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Reporters and Editors, for more information, please call Leslie Colman, Marketing Director, at 630-776-5725.