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How to Make New Year's Resolutions That You'll Keep

Updated on August 14, 2011
Keeping New Year's Resolutions
Keeping New Year's Resolutions | Source

Making New Year’s Resolutions is easy. Keeping them is the hard part. This article presents ways for you to make resolutions so that you can be successful.

Be Realistic

Serious resolutions must be realistic in order to have a reasonable chance of success. Try not to do too much in any single resolution, nor make too many resolutions. A resolution to lose 20 pounds within six months, for example, is very achievable. One to stop smoking and lose weight and get fit is too much. Try to accomplish one major goal at a time.

If your resolutions do involve new exercise or diet programs then be sure to obtain medical clearance before you launch.

Get Motivated

Think about the benefits that you will get by sticking with your resolution: Better health? More money? Less stress? And so on. Write down all the benefits you can think of and then select the top three to five that are most important to you. Program your mind with those benefits by visualizing them and reading them every day. This activity should be enough to get you moving in the right direction.

Make Feasible Action Plans

Overly ambitious plans for changing entrenched behavior need to be kept in check. Your plans should be simple but need to be specific about timing and then scheduled sensibly. For example, a reasonable fitness plan would specify what you would be doing, when and how often, and how much at a time -- with safe progressions leading to increased intensity. Everything needs to be achievable, but it also needs to be scheduled to succeed. If you don't schedule it, it probably won't get done.

Set Up Milestones and Rewards

You’ll need milestones to help keep yourself motivated and on the path of success. It could take a month or two for a new daily routine to become an ingrained habit. In the meantime you’ll need to have some rewards on the way to reinforce your new behavior(s). Schedule these rewards in advance so that you’ll be motivated to reach each one. The rewards should be every couple of weeks or so and could be meals out, special desserts, a massage, etc. Make sure the rewards are affordable!

Seek Support

Enlist your family and friends to help you achieve your goals. If they can’t actively help the least they can do is to cheer you on and do nothing to sabotage your efforts.

Reorder Your Priorities

You may have to reorder your priorities to accommodate your resolution(s). For example, for a new exercise program you will need to make it one of the top two claims on your free time each day. Consciously committing to this level of priority will help prepare your mind for success.

Implement Your Plan

Once you have yourself psyched up and you have a reasonable plan, go for it! If your foundation is sound then you will succeed because you have programmed yourself for success and have committed to a plan that you are capable of achieving. Work that plan!

Stay on Track

Once launched, you may sail through to victory without a misstep. On the other hand, there are often unforeseen obstacles that arise or we just mess up. Don’t worry! You’re human and mistakes are acceptable. Just condition your mind to get right back on track as soon as possible. You are programmed for success. Unleash yourself again! Never give up!

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