Tips for Making and Keeping Your New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year! As you know, this is that glorious time of year, when our slates are wiped clean and we all set out to be a better person. However, the top ten New Year’s Resolutions nationwide seem to be remarkably similar year after year. Here is a list of the most popular, along with some ideas to make them more specific, so you are not setting yourself up for failure.

Many people have decided that spending more time with family and friends is an important task to accomplish in the New Year. To make this goal more realistic, first make a list of all the people you wish to spend more time with and contact them immediately. This way, there the burden of coordination is no longer just on you. As long as you handle the initiative, hopefully you won’t be the only one attempting to make time.
Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions nationwide. However, striving to lose a large chunk of weight makes the process seem daunting and impossible. Remember that it takes time to lose pounds in a healthy and sustainable way. Set small goals that you will accomplish often. Experts say that you can lose 2-3 pounds a week. Try to lose 5 pounds every two weeks and before you know it, those 20 pounds you’ve been meaning to get rid of will be a goal accomplished.

“Enjoy life more” is probably the vaguest of all New Year’s Resolutions. Make a list of all the things that make you happy, or that you would like more time to do; then, when you have a spare moment or a spare day, take the time to enjoy these activities. Invest in a day planner and set aside specific times of your day or week to participate in these things, or plan to do them with friends. As with anything else, this goal requires modification in your behavior that needs to be trained at first.

Get organized – another vague goal. Define what you need to get organized and start in a specific place. For example, “clean out the garage” or “organize finances” are great starting places. Nine times out of ten, once you accomplish a certain aspect of “getting organized” others will follow; not unlike when you clean the bathroom, the kitchen is quickly next on the list.

Quitting smoking is part of a larger goal to be generally healthier; admirable yet a tall order when it comes to eliminating a tough habit all at once. Instead, change your resolution to “smoke a pack less per day or week” or “don’t smoke while drinking.” Be specific about when and where to cut down smoking; this makes your goals more achievable. Once you’ve successfully accomplished one, add another.

Remember, specificity is the key to success. Constructing your resolution as a set of accomplishable goals will not only ensure that you accomplish it, but will also keep your motivation going all year long. Happy 2011!

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