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New Year’s resolutions: We all make them and we all break them. However, throwing your well-intended plans for the new year to the curb by mid-January is not necessarily inevitable. There are a number of things you can do to help ensure that you achieve your New Year’s goals and make it to December with a new behavior or new set of skills in place. Here are four ways to make sure you keep your New Year’s resolutions.
1. Make Your Resolution Specific and Easily Measured
It’s much more likely that you will stick to your goal if it is easily measured. For instance, just saying that you want to lose weight or start exercising more or read more books is too vague to be useful. Instead, write down how many pounds you want to lose, how many times a week you are committed to exercising and how many books you plan to read. Not only can such goals be more easily grasped, but you can monitor your progress throughout the year.
2. Tell a Friend
Making yourself accountable to another person for your success in the new year is another way to increase the odds dramatically of meeting your New Year’s goals. Get an exercise partner, find a work mentor or enlist your spouse or best friend to help track your progress. Tell them what you want to accomplish this year and break it down into mini-goals, such as two pounds a week or $2,000 in sales per month. Then check in with them each period. Knowing that you have to announce your success (or lack thereof) to someone else will increase your odds of success.
3. Set a Realistic Goal
Huge, “God-sized” goals may sound enticing and dramatic before January 1st, but setting a goal of 100 pounds weight loss, increasing your sales by 500 percent or going from no exercise to exercising an hour a day, seven days a week is not very realistic and can set you up for failure. After all, it’s easy to think that you’ll never achieve that goal when you only see a slight improvement by the end of January or when you want to take a day off from your exercise regimen. Instead, set a goal that will stretch you, but not break your spirit after the initial thrill wears off.
4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Setbacks
Virtually everyone slips a little before they achieve a desired goal. That’s all part of being human. However, it’s way too easy to use a small setback, such as indulging in a rich dessert or not making your daily quota of sales calls, derail your entire resolution. Instead, dust yourself off after your slip and refocus on your desired goal without making yourself feel bad in the process. Keep in mind that you’re not alone.
Keeping your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Set yourself up for success by making your goals quantifiable, enlisting the aid of a goal partner, being realistic with your goal and resisting the urge to beat yourself up about small setbacks.
Setting a resolution is a skill just like driving a car or writing a business letter. There are steps that can dramatically increase your odds for success.
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