How to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick

Making and keeping resolutions is easy to conceptualize. Actually accomplishing them is another story. For some of us, our New Year’s resolutions end in disaster. There are many reasons for this—we try to do too much at once, we aren’t able to get started, or we just can’t seem to finish what we start.

One of the biggest reasons I struggle with my resolutions is because I find myself so busy that I fail to plan out my days. Rather than taking a few minutes to set daily goals and schedule my time, I just wake up and jump into the day. Helping with the needs of my family, my spouse, and my employer leaves little time for the things I want to improve upon. However, I realize that I have just as much time in my day as anyone else; I just need to schedule that time to make it more effective.

Another thing that helps me keep my resolutions is to remember how much I’m already doing each day. It’s easy to look at the areas where we’re lacking and try to change everything at once; but with our busy schedules, making too many changes just means more things on our to-do list. We need to be careful not to overdo it. We can set several goals, but it helps to work on a few at a time until we’ve worked the new routines into our daily schedule.60618_lrgcase

Big goals can only be reached one step at a time, so break your goals down into manageable pieces that you can work on for a few hours each day or week. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and run a marathon unless you’ve put the time in each day (usually for several years).

If you have your goals set and broken down into manageable pieces, decide to start today. Write down the first few steps you’ll need to take and act now. If you’d like to change jobs this year, revise your resume and start learning more about the companies where you’d like to work. Take notes about their mission statement, contact the company and learn who the hiring manager is for the department where you’d like to work. Write your cover letter addressed to that person, rather than addressing it to Whom it May Concern.

Now that you’ve started, keep at it. The only way to ensure you finish what you start is to simply keep at the task. Over time your efforts will become routine. You’ll get comfortable with your gym schedule and your journaling routine and you’ll find something else to improve.

Don’t be overwhelmed by setbacks. None of us are perfect. We’re going to slip along the path. If our sweet tooth gets the better of us one day, it’s best to simply admit we messed up and start fresh the next day. If we dwell on our mistakes, we’ll begin with negative self-talk and before we know it we’ll talk ourselves out of positive change altogether.

So open your planner and start setting goals today. Here’s to a new year filled with success and great accomplishments.

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