5R’s of Resolutions

(KUTV) Salt Lake City – Don’t give up on your New Year’s Resolution just yet. Dr. Shawn Talbott, a nutritional biochemist who researches how to help people feel, look, and perform their best, appeared on Fresh Living to share the 5 R’s of Resolutions.


January 17, 2018 was the annual “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day” – where people are encouraged to just forget about any of their promises to get healthier – or lose weight – or improve, start doing, or stop doing anything in 2018.

The rationale behind Resolution Quit Day is simple – lots of people who make New Year’s resolutions will break them or give up on them before the end of January (some estimates say 80%).

Recently on Fresh Living, we talked about how you can strengthen your resolve (or get back to your new habits if you’ve already quite) – with a PLAN. (WATCH HERE)

One reason for the high quit rate is that people are lacking in either motivation or confidence. When we assess “Readiness to change” (the first R) – we want people to rate themselves at least a “6” (on a scale of 1-10) for both motivation (the change is important enough to you) and confidence (that you have the skills/knowledge to achieve it).  If your score is lower than 6, then you probably need to scale back your aspirations (such as lose 10lbs instead of lose 50lbs).

If you’re Ready with sufficient motivation and confidence, then you need to identify the next three Rs:

Reminder – a trigger that initiates the behavior (that you want to change)

Routine – the practice of the behavior

Reward – the benefit you’re getting from the behavior

For example, maybe you want to stop eating ice cream while watching late night TV? You can’t just tell yourself to simply “stop doing that” – you need to Replace the old habits with a set of new habits (that’s the 5th R).

Using our late night ice cream as the example…

“R” Old Habit New Habit
Reminder Late Show with Stephen Colbert is up next! Late Show with Stephen Colbert is up next! (nobody said you can’t watch a few jokes)
Routine You go to the freezer to scoop out a bowl of Fudge Ripple You go to the tea kettle to brew up a cup of Chocolate Banana herbal tea
Reward Enjoy a sweet treat, some laughs, and relax before bed Enjoy a sweet treat, some laughs, and relax before bed

In this scenario, you’re still using the same “reminder” and getting the same “reward” – all that has changed is the “routine” – which is really the core of the thing that you wanted to change.

This is just a “simple” example of habit change – but the general rule applies to other more complex behavior changes. Break the habit down into it’s 3-part cycle (three Rs – Reminder, Routine, and Reward), make sure that you’re Ready to change the cycle, and then Replace the old behavior(s) with new behavior(s).

About the Author: Dr. Shawn Talbott received dual Bachelor’s degrees in Sports Medicine (B.S.) and Fitness Management (B.A.) from Marietta College, his Master’s degree (M.S.) in Exercise Science from UMASS, and his Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from Rutgers. His research is focused on natural products to support human performance and psychological vigor (physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being).

Dr. Talbott’s recent projects include two academic textbooks, an award-winning documentary film, and several best-selling books translated into multiple languages. His work has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, the TED stage, and the White House.


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