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How to Make New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep

Updated on February 1, 2013
New Year's Eve is the perfect time to reflect on hopes, goals, and dreams for the future.
New Year's Eve is the perfect time to reflect on hopes, goals, and dreams for the future. | Source

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to set goals for self-improvement. The slate is wiped clean as the old year is passed and a new year is here for the taking. Traditionally, New Year’s Day is a holiday to reflect on the past and celebrate hope for the future. People make toasts to New Year's resolutions with sparkling champagne amidst glittering lights. But when the hangover subsides the following morning, resolve quickly decreases and old habits prevail.

Don’t let another year pass without reaching your goals. These tips will help you to keep this year's resolutions:

1. Don’t set a goal unless you are serious about it.

It is easy to make big New Year’s Eve resolutions while surrounded by liquor, and streamers, and friends. The problem with that is we make ourselves promises without fully considering the work it will take to get there. Failing at a resolution can be more discouraging than never having set one at all, so only make goals you are serious about conquering. Take the time to evaluate what changes you really want to make in life, and reflect on why you want to make those changes. Having solid reasoning behind your ambitions will give you a foundation on which to achieve them.

2. Choose resolutions that are achievable.

Setting a goal on January 1st to lose 100 pounds by Valentine’s Day is not realistic. Deciding to never again touch junk food or sweets, so long as you live, may not be achievable either. Save yourself the disappointment by setting goals you can actually attain, and don't be afraid to mix small goals with large ones.

Focus on building the new.
Focus on building the new. | Source
Write out your New Year's resolutions on paper and keep them in clear view.
Write out your New Year's resolutions on paper and keep them in clear view. | Source

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3. Focus on just a few changes at a time.

If you have decided to quit smoking, lose weight, change jobs, and go back to college all at the same time, you are setting yourself up for failure. Too much change too fast can cause a person to crash. Write down every one of your goals for the upcoming year so that you won’t forget them. Prioritize your list, and select only 2-3 goals to work on at a time. Make sure the ones you select won’t fight each other. For example, if you want to quit smoking it may be best to pair that with taking the dog for daily walks, saving your weight loss goals until after you’ve succeeded at ditching the cigs.

4. Set out a step-by-step plan of attack.

One of most common New Year’s mistakes is setting a goal without having a plan of action. Deciding you want to spend more time with the family this year is not enough. You will need to determine when, where, and how or the months will sneak by without any real changes. Think through a realistic plan of attack, and write it down on paper. Having a step-by-step outline in place will keep you on track for completion.

5. Keep your goals before your eyes.

Old habits die hard, and it is easy for distraction to make you lose focus. Fight this by writing down the 2-3 goals you have made your main focus and putting them somewhere you will frequently see them. Hang photos and quotes up as inspiration. Literally setting your eyes on the prize will keep you from getting lost in distraction.

6. Have a support system in place.

If you are attempting to make a big change, you may need someone there to cheer you on and hold you accountable. Ask a close friend or family member to call you out when you are cheating, or to be there when you need to vent. Change is not easy, and having someone you can count on to support your self-improvement is invaluable.

7. Don’t give up if you feel you are failing.

You’ve probably heard it before, but it is worth hearing again: The only way you can fail is if you quit. No matter how many times you falter, you can always try again. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect from day one. If accomplishing your resolutions were easy, there would be no need for resolution. When you slip, simply pick yourself right back up and fight again. Remember the reasons you set your goals, and make this the year that you achieve them!

Make this the year you achieve your resolutions.
Make this the year you achieve your resolutions. | Source

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