Keeping New Year's Resolutions

New Year ResolutionThe New Year is an ideal time to make positive changes in your life. Set yourself up for success by following these proven tips for keeping your resolutions.

Set realistic goals

Rather than resolving to lose 20 pounds, set a goal to lose two pounds a month. Achieving success in small steps is the motivation that will keep you going. Make your goals measurable so you know when you've reached a milestone.

Make a plan

If you want to volunteer or help others this year, look at your time, skills, finances and motivation to see where the fit might be, then decide how to carry out your plan. Will you "adopt" a child from a foreign country by sending money, or connect with a child from a local children's organization and spend time with him/her? Walk dogs at a pet shelter or stock shelves at the food pantry? Raise money for medical research or advise a non-profit on strategic issues? Determine your interest and ability, then put it in motion.

Write it down

You've made your plan, now put it on paper and keep it where you will see it often. This could be your budget if you're trying to save money, a picture of a cigarette with a red line through it if you want to quit smoking, or a picture of a quiet place if you're intent on reducing stress. The important thing is to have a visual reminder that you see on a regular basis.

Enlist support

Give your plan to a friend and ask for their help in keeping you on track. Join a support group comprised of members trying to do the same thing you are. Work out at a gym where others are of the same mindset. Find a job counselor who can help you assess your skills and strengths to enable you to launch a successful job hunting campaign. Everyone needs support of some kind.

Avoid temptation

A resolution is essentially a change in your lifestyle. Since you are moving away from an existing habit, make a conscious effort to avoid what you're trying to change. Don't buy junk food if you're trying to lose weight. Turn off the TV if you want to learn something new. Avoid shopping as retail therapy if you want to save money. Find new friends who don't smoke or drink if that's what you're trying to change. Steer clear of that which tempts you to set yourself up for success!