Originally created 12/21/06

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It's not too soon to start thinking about those New Year's resolutions, and between overspending on gifts and overindulging on goodies, most of us will have something we'll want to resolve to do better in the new year.

Dr. Bernard Davidson, a family psychologist with MCG Health System, says that keeping resolutions is as easy as these three steps.

STEP ONE: Be committed. It's important that you think through what you want to change, and commit yourself to the long-term process it usually takes to achieve change. Then, come up with a realistic plan to help you achieve your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, put together a schedule of weight loss, and map out an achievable diet and exercise plan. If you have friends and family who will be supportive, let them in on your plan and they can help gently reinforce your commitment. Who knows, there might even be someone you know who wants to achieve the same goal, and you can work together. Don't be afraid to seek professional help - whether that's a trainer, nutritionist, doctor or counselor - to assist you.

STEP TWO: Be ready for setbacks. Let's face it, on every road, there will be some potholes. But don't think of every setback as a complete failure and give up your commitment. If you miss an exercise class, if you smoke one cigarette, if Aunt Marge drives you to consume an entire pint of Rocky Road ice cream, don't dwell on that; get right back on track. We're all human. Just expect some bumps along the way, and plan how you will deal with them. Maybe your plan will be to call a supportive friend and enjoy a healthy salad night. Or maybe it will be to review all the reasons you really want to quit smoking and why quitting makes you happy.

STEP THREE: Keep track of your progress. Cheer yourself on toward your goal by celebrating your successes along the way and getting positive feedback from your supporters. Reward yourself appropriately, and it will encourage you to keep going toward your goal. A good rule of thumb is to evaluate your progress every week or two weeks, but resist the urge to overmonitor yourself by critiquing yourself every day - that's likely to end in frustration. And this isn't a race, so there's no need to compare yourself with anyone else.


AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE GREAT TRANSATLANTIC CABLE: Through Dec. 31; Augusta Museum of History, 560 Reynolds St.; film plays continuously in History Theatre; museum open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday; $2-$4; (706) 722-8454

THE SCIENCE OF TOYS: 1:30 p.m. through Saturday; Fort Discovery, 1 Seventh St.; special presentations on the magic, mystery and science of toys; free with general admission; (706) 821-0206

SEVENTH ANNUAL HOLIDAY BALL CLASSIC: 10 a.m. today-Friday; James Roundtree Memorial Gym, T.W. Josey High School, 1701 15th St.; $5; (706) 826-1126

ACOUSTIC CONCERT: 6:30 p.m.; Broad Street Ministry Center, 20 Broad St.; with Brad Davis, of Watkinsville, Ga.

JOHN BERRY CHRISTMAS: 7:30 p.m.; Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.; $27 adults, $20 children 12 and younger; (706) 722-8341, imperialtheatre.com

BEHOLD THE STAR CHRISTMAS CONCERT: 7 p.m.; Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, 2500 Walton Way; presented by Creative Impressions; $20 adults, $7.50 children 12 and younger; $18 per ticket for groups of 10 or more; (706) 667-4100

HOLIDAY CAMP: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today-Friday and Dec. 27-29; Fort Discovery, 1 Seventh St.; for kindergartners to fifth-graders; members $30 per day, $125 for all days; nonmembers $35 per day, $150 for five days; (706) 821-0646


12 BANDS OF CHRISTMAS: 6 p.m.; Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.; benefits the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center; admission included with each CD, which costs $12; available at various locations; (706) 721-4004, 12bandsofchristmas.com


CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE: 6 p.m., Greene Street Presbyterian Church. Georgia's Three Tenors - Bart Black, Johnnie Green and Arthur Wilson - will perform. Call (706) 738-6993

CHRISTMAS EVE CONCERT: 10:30 p.m.; St. John United Methodist Church, 736 Greene St.; presented by Concerts with a Cause; benefits the United Methodist Children's Home; (706) 724-9641, www.stjohnumcaugusta.com


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