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Guest Posting: Want Your Resolution To Stick? Think Like A Movie Star!

Sooooo, you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions and now comes the hard part; making them stick. What many people don’t understand is that resolutions involve change and making it a part of our lives is more than speaking it into existence. There is a cycle of ups and downs, falling off the path and getting up. The problem comes when we fall off and stay down there, convinced it’s too hard to get up and going again.

But here’s a little trick; think like a movie star. Sounds crazy, right? Think of your resolution as a project (the movie) and you are the star. So here are 5 things to remember as you tackle those resolutions.

STEP 1. LIGHTS (Pre-contemplation): A light bulb goes on, and you realize there are some things that need to change. You know all the reasons; maybe you’ve known for a while, but have been in denial. You know you need to start shooting your movie, start making some resolutions. Here are the first obstacles, ambivalence and procrastination. Recognize them, acknowledge them but don’t let them stop you from getting on stage.

STEP 2. CAMERA (Contemplation): The excuses are wearing thin. The “camera”, i.e. attention, is on you. Maybe you’ve seen that office Christmas party video where you embarrassed yourself in front of your boss, and finally realize you need to drink a whole lot less. In other words, the reasons to make change are more confronting, serious or evident to you now. So it’s time to start shooting. The first item on your “rundown” might be naming the resolution or action you want to change then making that important phone call.

STEP 3. ACTION: (well, Action): You have taken steps towards your resolution; you are finally in the very first scene of your movie! No more waiting and contemplating. You have been to the gym or maybe you haven’t smoked cigarettes in three days and are feeling great right? You are well on your way to achieving and sticking to your resolutions!  Woo hoo! You can do this. Until….

STEP 4: CUT! (Relapse): Uh- oh…something happened along the way and suddenly the scenes of your movie aren’t coming together AT ALL! There are too many “cuts” and too much criticism about your performance (mainly from you). You can’t take it and give up. The relapse phase tends to be dramatic. It’s over! Fired from your own movie! You run off the set and never come back to shoot the rest of the movie because you failed!!

The problem is YES most people respond to the relapse phase this way. Relapse is seen as failure and is probably the number one reason resolutions fail. But this is a misconception; there is hope folks, because relapse is NOT failure! So what to do?

  • Identify relapse as a normal part of the change cycle (as opposed to viewing it as failure) and learn from it. Success in achieving those resolutions, big or small will be greater with this mindset.
  • Keep going, dust yourself off, and gather your thoughts.  Is something off? You may need a few wardrobe changes in your movie production, or a lunch break for things to start running again!
  • The good news is there is no reason you can’t return to any part of the cycle (movie shoot); you can have as many takes as you want take two, three, four even five if you have to. Switch the lights on again, beat ambivalence with a stick, get the camera rolling, do as many great or even not so great takes. The secret is not to give up!
  • Realize that committing to change is not easy and be honest with yourself about contributors to your relapse. Maybe you’re simply not ready for this change or the reasons motivating you aren’t the right ones.

STEP 5: WRAP (Success): If you are committed to your resolutions and want success in sticking to them, remember it’s a cycle and you may have to go through it a few times before you finally get there. Don’t give up, keep shooting your movie, even if you do really well, then suck really badly, soon enough there will be no more takes or cuts and “it’s a wrap!”

So get the lights set, make up on and get moving. By understanding and realizing the role of each stage we can all be well on our way to making long-term change. Good luck!

Did you make a new year’s resolution this year? What was it? Is it a new one or one you’ve tried to tackle before? How do you plan to make it stick?

Portia Kambasha is the proud mother of  two gorgeous toddler sons and married to an equally  gorgeous husband. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychiatric nursing in Newcastle, United Kingdom and worked and traveled in  Europe before migrating  to Australia in 2008. Searching for sun, sand, and a better family life, she now lives in the beautiful city of  Melbourne, Australia. She recently completed a Masters degree in mental health and currently works as a mental health professional in eating disorders, while pursuing an independent career in family therapy. She  probably has an unhealthy addiction to caffeine, but shes working on it (did somebody say New Year’s resolution?). Portia loves food, music, art, bold color, interior design, and travel. She should love exercise more than she does..and she the new year..


  1. Shavonnah

    January 2, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Awesome post..this is a great way to think of personally I really didn’t say well this is my New Year’s resolution..I just kind of decided I wanted to eat healthy.

  2. Shasha

    January 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

    If we really think about it, it is hard us to break/change even the smallest of things, even when we are aware fo what we are doing.Why then should we expect ourselves to easily be able to stick to a resolution or achieve change just like that? Thinking about it as a cycle which will have hurdles is by far more effective and realistic.

  3. Joy

    January 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Excellent way of looking at New Year Resolutions.We start so well,inspired to do our best and then few months down the line the resolutions are no more.Like you say,we should not give up.Do what you need to do to press on towards the ultimate goal .

  4. Yeu

    January 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    This is an excellent article and I am going to share it with my friends on fb. Great work Portia, more please

  5. Nyasha

    January 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Great job Portia! I tried entering my comment via facebook, seems like an error occurred? However I will emphasize the cycle of #5, “success”, if it don’t work the first time, keep applying until it sticks. Too many times we give up and that’s when we’re really close. I will be paying close attention to more artcles from you (:

  6. Linda Kinley

    January 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Amazing!!! Really needed to read that!
    Portia, you have made it all realistic.. I feel less pressure now.xx

  7. Kay

    January 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Thank you Portia, very well explained relating the change to thinking like a Movie Star, it makes the whole thought of change to be fun and less scary and worrying. I quite like the idea that one can apply each of these stages to any form of change in their life. The irony is that we share the same resoltion of wanting to exercise more and I will definately apply this technique in my journey tom reach my resolution, many thanks.

  8. claudine

    January 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Brilliant article. Breaking change into stages and making much room for relapse is so very important.

    My youngest is two & a half and I’d been overweight well before he was born. I spent many, many months in the pre-contemplative & contemplative stages before finally moving into action. I agree Portia that it is so important to understand why the changes need to be made.

    Knowing why I was overweight has helped me lose the fat forever mentality I have lived with for years.

    Thanks for reiterating, it can’t be said enough.

  9. Mary

    January 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    What a well written and timely article. Human beings aren’t perfect and we need to be less harsh and critical of ourselves. As Portia said the ‘relapse’ stage is normal; its hard to make long standing and worthwhile change in our lives. Our minds can often be the stumbling block and it may take some time to change our way of thinking about ourselves and the changes we need/want to make. Looking at it as a cyclic process is the best way to realistically achieve the changes we desire.

  10. Sam

    January 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

     it’s true, it seems our resolutions/ start way before new years, but we are just in denial about it….

  11. Noreen

    January 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I’ve just stopped making new year’s resolutions cause I never see them through, but what you have said Portia is a really good way of looking at resolutions. I find I actually make change and stick to it when my birthday is coming up or on my birthday…

  12. Shasha

    January 3, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Well written Portia.
    I am one who has given up on New Years resolutions because they never lasted more than a week!!! 🙂 Maybe i will have another go now trying your tactics.

  13. Shasha

    January 3, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Despite many attempts to change to the correct ID for some reason this puter keeps posting me as Shasha. I believe this comes from allowing the real Shasha to post from my place on her visits. Ah well – such are the vagaries of new technology for us oldies. So the last two posts should be under Sherry not Shasha.

  14. Mimenta

    January 3, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Good one Portia! It only took 25 years of trying to give up smoking to realise this is true. I gave up at least 50 times but finally did it 14 years ago. New years resolutions are also recyclable too, so long as the determination carries on from the previous year. It’s not the resolution that makes it happen, it’s the determination to win in the end that carries you through the falls to get up and get back on track again.

  15. Cherie @ a baby called Max

    January 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Well, I think you’re a woman of many talents.

    So much study, which coming from a similar background, I completely respect, & … you can write!

    Good luck with the resolutions, I love this time of year … clean canvas time 🙂

  16. Zanele Kanjere

    January 4, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Very well written Portia i love it. Im not one for resolutions because I struggle to keep them and then Im very hard on myself as I see it as failure. That is the fundamental thing that you pointed out that its not about failure its about keeping on trying. I love the step by step approach. I need to get back into a shape I will use this as a guide. love it…..

  17. Kirstii

    January 5, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Love how your incorporated the cycle of change into the making of a movie. The concept was easy to understand and definitely something to relate to – we have all been there and done that and made resolutions that have resulted in relapse within days of the new year! You are amazing – keep it up!

  18. Michelle

    January 5, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I so NEEDEED to read this! Off to continue shooting a movie of two 😉 thank you

  19. Michelle

    January 5, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Oooos meant “or” not “of”

  20. Caroline

    January 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Really good read Portia- been there,done that,got the t-shirt and am still in the same place still,literally!! Will definitely try and look at things this year from this perspective, watch out world,here I come!!!

  21. Kuda Mangwe

    January 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Love the article it’s really true to your writing style from your blog. Would really love to catch up if I could and discuss it with you

  22. Portia

    January 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Appreciate all the comments and feedback, and hope we will all be on our way to seeing change differently( myself included). Now,I’m off to the *gym*

  23. Luke

    January 11, 2012 at 3:19 am

    This article has some specific relevance – for my past, present and future. In the past, it was about me giving up smoking – so many attempts to quit which I took at the time, as failures. But you are right, it was all part of the deal! I needed to go through those falls and dust myself off to make my final and successful attempt at giving up the yucky habit. Since then my weight slowly increased! Now, I am blessed with a new challenge to loose weight, feel great and look hot! This is not my first attempt! I went from 145kg to 117kg – then I fell off the wagon and went back to 131kg! Have since, dusted myself off and facing my demons again 🙂 after reading this article I feel so much more positive about it and feel more empowered and confident I can achieve my goal – of being hot!!! 🙂

  24. Antwan Vannette

    January 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you for the great post. Anyway take it easy and keep the great work!

  25. Ian

    February 13, 2012 at 8:56 am

    yes sticking with it is the hard part, i decided it was time for a relationship, finally met someone but…. will i or wont i take it further, it’s hard, i dont know why. Good for you Portia

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