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7 Ways to Make New Year's Resolutions That Stick
By Maria Gracia
New Year's resolutions have a tendency to be made with enthusiasm and determination. Unfortunately, very often they're forgotten by the time February rolls around.
Here are 7 simple ways to make New Year's resolutions that stick and help you accomplish your goals.
- THINK SHORT TERM. For most people, making a resolution for the entire year is way too difficult. Instead, make your resolutions once per month; January resolutions, February resolutions, etc. They're much easier to achieve and the accomplishments can be celebrated sooner. Plus, if you don't quite reach what you want to accomplish in any given month, you can simply move that resolution into the next month--no more feeling so guilty that you have to wait an entire year to start over again!
- FOCUS ON A FEW. It's nearly impossible to do everything you've always wanted to do in a short period of time. To be sure you don't forget about the goals you'd like to accomplish, write them all down on a Master Goals List. Then, each month throughout the year, focus on the one or two that are most important to you. You won't get overwhelmed and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
- MAKE YOUR RESOLUTIONS S-M-A-R-T:
- SPECIFIC: Your resolutions must be specific. For instance, saying that you'd like to spend more time with your kids in the new year is too general. However, saying that you vow to spend 1 hour of quality time with your kids each Friday and Wednesday, immediately following dinner, is very concrete and specific.
- MEASUREABLE: Resolutions that are worked on and achieved, are those that can be measured and tracked. When you think of making a resolution, think in terms of numbers. Perhaps you'd like to lose weight. Thinking in numbers, you might state that you'd like to lose 5 pounds--1 pound per month for the next 5 months. Or possibly you'd like to go on a short vacation. Thinking in numbers, you may state that you'd like to save $100 per month, so you can go on a bed and breakfast weekend in June.
- ATTAINABLE: You can certainly make challenging resolutions, but don't make them so difficult that they're going to be almost impossible to achieve. You can always break your resolution down into smaller goals. For instance, if you'd like to put aside $50 per month, make a resolution to set aside $12.50 per week.
- REALISTIC: You might want to be a pro golfer this year, but if you haven't even started training yet, then this resolution is going to be unrealistic and unattainable. Instead, set more realistic goals, such as taking a few basic golf lessons or playing golf once per week on Tuesdays for practice.
- TIMELY: The word 'someday' is indefinite. Yet, often people say they have so many things they'd like to accomplish ... someday. Resolutions with no start or end date in mind never get accomplished. Be sure all of your resolutions have both a deadline, and a starting date. For example, you might say you'd like to change your job. Your deadline might be March, 2001, and your start date might be next week--determining what you'd like to do, seeking available positions, etc.
- TELL THE WORLD. It's so important to be motivated about the things you'd like to accomplish. When you make a resolution, tell your spouse or a friend. Post a message on a discussion forum. Tell a co-worker. You'll be more determined to accomplish your goal, if other people are cheering you on.
- GIVE YOURSELF SOME VISUALS. If you're constantly staring your resolution in the face every day, you're bound to keep it uppermost in your mind. If you'd like to lose weight, keep a photo of an actress or actor you want to use as a model, on your refrigerator. Want to go on a vacation? Post a photograph of your dream destination where you're sure to see it throughout the day.
- CONQUER MINOR SETBACKS. There are so many things going on in your daily life, and you may experience a day or two when you lose track of the resolutions you set. That's ok. Get right back on track. No need to wait until next year, or the 1st of next month. Simply make any day of the week DAY ONE, and begin working on your resolution again. Winston Churchill once said, in the shortest speech ever made, 'Never, never, never give up.' Heed his words of wisdom.
- CELEBRATE YOUR WINS. Celebrating your accomplishments along the way will give you the motivation to keep going! Set appropriate rewards for each mini-resolution you make, and have a small celebration for each one you achieve. Let's say you'd like to put aside $10 per week in January. For every $10 you're able to save at the end of each week, you might indulge yourself in an hour's worth of free time to enjoy one of your hobbies. Reward yourself. You deserve it!
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