The Shulman Center for Theft Addictions & Disorders
January 2007 E-Newsletter

Happy New Year!

New Year's (Re)Solutions - 8 Keys to Success!
Terrence Daryl Shulman, JD,LMSW,ACSW,CAC,CPC

It's that time of year again. As January 1st approaches, admit it: you've probably been thinking of making at least one New Year's resolution. I know I have. But if you're like me, you've probably had your fair share of past disappointments. Some studies have estimated that roughly 9 out of 10 New Year's resolutions "fail" within the first 30 days.

When we choose to embark upon important life changes or set goals around New Year's or anytime of the year, there's no shortage of suggestions out there about how best to achieve these. I've never been the kind of person to suggest that "one size fits all." But through looking at my own life and combing through the research, I'd like to offer a few perspectives that may assist you in realizing your better life.

First, it may be wise to focus on just one or two changes or goals at a time rather than a slew of them. For some, we must tackle the hardest and most important changes/goals first. For others, it may work to build some steam and confidence by starting with smaller, less challenging changes/goals.

Two: it makes sense to me that while New Year's is a natural time for renewal and a fresh start, we might be wise not to make too much of this time marker. If a change or goal is so important, why not start now? There may at least be action steps we might begin taking in advance of New Years and also recognize that our actions likely will be ongoing through January, through the year and, perhaps, throughout our lives. Getting sober or weight reduction and management are examples of this.

Three: Instead of thinking of some desired change as a resolution or a promise or a vow, how about thinking about it as a "solution" to something that is obviously bothering you. What sounds better: I'm making a resolution or "I'm creating a solution." If I fall short on a resolution, it feels like I've already failed; if, however, I fall short on my solution, it feels more like I've just hit a little bump in the road and I need to create a way to get back on track. It sounds like semantics but it's human psychology at its simplest and gentlest.

Four: we need to be honest with ourselves about whether we're really ready to change or accomplish what we tell ourselves or others. Prochaska and DiClemente, noted theorists, outlined five stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, investigation, implementation, and maintenance. Each of these stages can last a long time. What stage are you at with each goal or "solution" you're entertaining? It's likely you're at the contemplation stage. So, how do we get to the next stages?

Five: we also need to be honest with ourselves about why we want to change or achieve something. We're often filled with conflicting feelings and issues. Take losing weight: do I want to lose weight for myself or someone else? Do I hate myself for not being thinner? The law of attraction states: if I'm focused on the negative, I'll get more of the negative. This is why we often need positive assistance to change or achieve something. This is part of the investigation stage. How can I create this solution? Do I need to read a book? See a therapist? Talk to a life coach? Most of us make the mistake of trying to change or accomplish something all by ourselves. It rarely works. Been there.

Six: most of us can muster a great effort at anything but, as they say, as long as we're just "trying" we might as well forget it. As Yoda said, "no try, do."  Someone coined the acronym "S.M.A.R.T." to describe a helpful approach to change or goal achievement. The letters stand for the following:

Specific - (I will lose weight vs. I will become more healthy)
Measurable - (I will lose 10 pounds vs. I will be thinner)
Attainable - (Despite not having lost 10 pounds in a long time, I feel it is attainable)
Realistic - (Losing 10 pounds is more realistic than losing 100 lbs)
Time Sensitive - (I'll lose 10 pounds in 60 days vs. I'll lose 10 lbs yeah, when? "The deadline is the true inspiration.")

Seven: we are motivated by both pleasure and pain. With losing weight, if I give up eating foods I love, I may lose some pleasure and I may experience some pain of withdrawal and some resistance to disciplining myself. If I can make it through the initial rough patches, the pain will begin to subside and the pleasure of achieving my goal, hopefully, will outweigh the pleasure I derived from overeating.

Eight: nature abhors a vacuum. When we stop doing something or begin making major changes, a shift or emptiness results. We need to fill that space in wisely. Also, it's vital to anticipate the pitfalls and struggles that will ensue without dwelling on them or being intimidated by them. This is where books, activities, friends, and other support really play a crucial role.

Above all, maintain some focus on the positive things about your life currently and how creating solutions for an even better life is what living is all about: moving forward, growing, healing, challenging ourselves to be the best we can be so that our experience of life continues to expand. May 2007 be your best year yet!

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*Please note that the Shulman Center web log is currently unavailable.  We have recently changed all of our internet systems and will be launching a new blog shortly.  Notices will be sent out to announce the new launch!

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What Happened in November - December

*November 28th - I was interviewed by local cable access television at a Detroit-area Best Buy store to speak about compulsive shopping, shoplifting and employee theft issues during the holidays.

*November 29th - My letter to editor of Detroit Free Press was printed along with others about "Black Friday" - the busiest shopping day, the day after Thanksgiving.  I warned about increased addictions.

*November 29th - I was interviewed for 15 minutes on Boston radio station WKRO AM Radio discussing compulsive shopping and shoplifting during the holidays.

*December 1st - I contributed the lead article to this month's e-newsletter on new yea'rs resolutions in the Conscious Mind Journal at

*December 6th - I was interviewed for 15 minutes on Detroit radio station WNZK AM discussing compulsive shopping, shoplifting and employee theft. See

*December 14th - I was interviewed on a half hour program for local Cable TV program discussing compulsive shopping, shoplifting and employee theft. See

*December 21st - I was interviewed during an hour-long program on Wisconsin Public Radio on compulsive shopping.

*December 22nd - I was interviewed by local Detroit radio station WWJ AM 950 on compulsive shopping, shoplifting and employee theft, especially during the holiday season.

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What's Happening in January

*Starting another chapter of C.A.S.A. in Detroit area

Down the road ...

*Fall 2007 2nd International Conference on Theft Addictions & Disorders (Date and location to be announced in January 2007)

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Now Available!

*Available on DVD or CD: My 90-minute presentation on theft addictions and disorders at the 2006 Michigan Social Workers Annual Conference. $50 for the DVD, $25 for the CD or $65 for both. Please contact me directly.

*Available on DVD: my hour-long presentation on theft addictions and disorders from Brighton Hospital September 7, 2006: $75.00; Also, my hour-long presentation on employee theft at The Michigan Financial Managers Conference on October 19, 2006: $50.00; my two hour-long presentation on thefts addictions and disorders at the Birmingham Community House November 9, 2006: $50.00; and my two hour-long presentation on theft addictions and disorders at the San Fernando Valley Employee Assistance Meeting on October 27, 2006: $50.00.

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Contact The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
P.O. Box 250008
Franklin, Michigan 48025


Or call:
(248) 358-8508

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Related Sites by Terrence Shulman:

 Related sites by Terrence Shulman:
The Shulman Center 

Something For Nothing
Biting The Hand That Feeds

CALL 248-358-8508 for a free consultation.

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© 2007 The Shulman Center