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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Keeping New Year's Resolutions

We say it every year: 'This year is going to be different.'

If you've always made New Year's Resolutions, you may vow that this is the year you're finally going to exercise, eat more healthy, spend less time at the office or invest more time with the family. You may promise to give up smoking, learn a new skill, get less stressed, or never allow the laundry to pile up again.

Or, perhaps you're at the other end of the spectrum. So many people have vowed to not make New Year's Resolutions. You may feel they're a waste of time and there's no way a resolution can ever be kept. Who needs the let down at the end of the year, right?

But, why not make this your best year ever? Why not do something that will give you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you look back at the end of 2007?

You're not going to get this feeling of accomplishment by making resolutions and breaking them. You're also not going to get it by not making resolutions.

There are 5 major reasons why most resolutions are not kept:

1. You made too many of them.

It's easier to focus on one or two resolutions, than it is to focus on 10, 20 or more. Forget about making a huge list of resolutions. Instead, choose one or two that are important to you. If you accomplish them before the end of the year, great! Then, you can choose to make one or two additional mid-year resolutions.

2. You made your resolutions too general.

They must be very specific. If you want to lose weight, how many pounds can you realistically lose per month? If you want to spend less time at the office, don't allow yourself to work past 6:00 for at least 3 days per week. Want to get your home organized? Focus on one room per month, and vow to spend 15 minutes per day decluttering each. You get the picture.

Your resolutions must be crystal clear, which means they should be described with numbers--2 pounds, $10.00 per week, 30 minutes of exercise, 3 days per week, one load of laundry per day, etc.

3. You didn't stay motivated.

Put up visual reminders, such as a photograph of your dream destination if you plan to save enough money to vacation there.

Ask a family member or friend to check up on you, and give you gentle reminders along the way.

Start a written or computer generated log, so you can keep track of your progress--how much weight you've lost, how much money you've saved, your hours at the office or the number of boxes you've emptied out in your attic.

4. You tried to succeed in a day or two.

Most resolutions take time to achieve, and maintain. Give yourself a break, and the proper amount of time you need to achieve your objectives--or you're liable to get exhausted before you even start.

Set mini-goals, and work on small parts of your resolutions at a time. Reward yourself along the way, no matter how small your achievements.

5. You keep waiting for the perfect time to start.

There's no better time to start than the present. If you wait to begin working on your resolutions until the perfect moment, you'll never get started. Determine what you need to start, and just begin. Before you know it, you'll be celebrating all of your accomplishments!

Happy New Year 2007!

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