New YearIf you're one of those people who have stopped setting New Year's resolutions, you're not alone. It's demoralizing and defeating when you set high expectations for yourself on January 1, only to keep those goals for just a few days or weeks. What's sad is that New Year's resolutions can work, when you set the right goals. You can look at the New Year as a clean slate and a way to start moving toward the life you really want.

Most people who sit down to make resolutions consider two things:

What should I do? What should I stop doing?

The first questions might sound good, but it's really the wrong attitude. Instead of planning what you think you "should" do, you need to think about what you want to do. Maybe you're trying to please someone else through your resolutions. If you want to be successful, you have to do what it is that motivates you. You have to be committed to this goal. When you say to yourself "you should stop doing something" it often leads to just wanting to do something more. You feel deprived, which makes it more difficult to reach your goal. How can you set realistic resolutions? Below are some things to help you set goals that work.

Tips for Successful Resolutions

  1. Start with commitment. What do you really want to achieve in 2017? Make your goal positive instead of negative. Take time to think about your resolution. Does it really fit into your life, your values and your long-term plans? Hold a ceremony to make the resolution more real.
  2. Tell your family or friends to help you stay committed. Get an accountability buddy. Someone who can support you while gently pushing you ahead.
  3. Clearly define your goals. Everyone says they want to get in shape. But what exactly does that mean to you? If you're trying to change your behavior, you need to make specific, measurable, achievable and relevant goals.
  4. Are your goals realistic? If you need knee surgery, you aren't going to be able run a marathon this year. Make sure that your goals are achievable for where you're at in life.
  5. Make time on your schedule for your goals. Put your dance class on your calendar. Schedule time to declutter closets. If you're trying to save money, make sure you leave time each week for budget review and planning. Make an appointment with yourself for what is important to you.
  6. Be patient and forgiving with yourself. Changing old habits isn't easy. We expect progress to be linear, but in reality what often happens is that we take a few steps forward and then maybe one to the side and one to the back before moving forward again. Your initial progress might be slow, but you'll see rapid improvements later on.
  7. When you slip up, get back up. You're going to get knocked down. It might be a cold that keeps you out of the gym for a few days. Maybe you just don't feel like eating healthy for a week. Don't let temporary mistakes or failures keep you from your goals.
  8. Track your progress. If you're trying to save money, enjoy watching your bank account balance increase. If you're trying to declutter, make a list of the areas that need work. Cross them off as you do each one. Visible progress is a good motivator.

It's said that achieving goals isn't about willpower. You simply need to develop the right skills and strategies that lead to success. Don't let another year go by without working on something that you want to do. Believe in yourself and set smart goals to get where you want to be in life.

Category: Holidays and Observances

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