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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Set and Keep New Year's Resolutions

Some three hundred sixty-two days ago, you, along with most people, were contemplating a new year. This beast known as 2011 was yet to emerge, all unknown and full of mystery. In you annual attempt to prognosticate and self-motivate, you declared resolutions, items on a list that would define your coming annum.

Now, at the end of that solar-circuit, how did you do? How successful were you at keeping the resolutions you made in the hoary days long past? Do you even remember what they were?

Spend some time thinking about the goals that you failed to achieve. What kept you from them? How did you fail? Was it forgetfulness or through trying and faltering?

Think about the resolutions you kept. What made you successful? Was it through your effort? Did you have any help?

As you consider your next year, think about what can make you successful. Your failures and your successes from the past can both inform your future. You can also practice SMART goals to help make things realistic and achievable, or you can set some DUMB goals if you want to do something huge and audacious.

Revisit your resolutions throughout the year. If you set your goal in January and don't do anything with it, you'll forget about it within a month. If you've ever belonged to a gym, you've seen this phenomenon. The first week in January is packed, the second week is, if anything, even busier. But by mid February, the place is clearing out again. If you don't remind yourself of your resolution, you won't keep with it any longer than a month or so.

Break the larger goal into smaller goals. If you resolve to lose weight, set a monthly goal for how much you want to lose. If you want to improve at your job, gain a certification every three weeks. Do things in discreet steps so that you can look back and see the accomplishment.

Refine your goals throughout the year. The brilliant idea you have at the beginning of a year may have no bearing on your life in June. Things change and so should your resolutions. Let them be fluid enough to incorporate your changing life. You might move during the year or find out you won the lottery or lose your job or all of the above. A good resolution will bend with the circumstances of your life.

What resolutions did you keep from last year? Which did you abandon? How will 2012 be different?

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