Planning is key to keeping resolutions. Most people have made New Year's resolutions at some point in their lives with varying degrees of success. The secret to making and keeping a New Year's resolution is to start thinking about it before New Year's Eve.
- Be Realistic. The surest way to fall short of your goal is for it to be unrealistic. Resolving to never eat your favorite food again is a set up for failure. Set a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding that food more often than you do now. If your resolution is something like losing weight, do some research to see what a realistic, attainable goal would be.
- Choose wisely. Don't decide on a resolution at the last minute on New Year's Eve. It may help to make a list of possible resolutions and develop this list over time. Keep it with you and ask others to contribute ideas. You should know what your goal is well before Decebmer 31st arrives.
- Create a Plan. To be successful it helps to have clear steps to put into action. Write your resolution and plan down in a notebook or journal. Decide how you will deal with the temptation to backslide. This could include calling a friend for support, taking a walk around the block or simply thinking positively. Start your plan during the first few days of January to harness your motivation. Don't expect overnight miracles. Resolutions are accomplished with a hundred tiny steps that happen throughout the year. You should think of a New Year's resolution as nothing more than a starting point and that developing positive habits will keep your plan moving forward.
- Talk About It. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better. The best case scenario is to find a friend or family member who has also made a New Year's resolution and agree to motivate each other.
- Remain Flexible. Obsessing over the occasional slip won't help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day and keep moving forward. Expect that you can and will change. Sometimes even the goal itself will change. But most importantly, recognize partial successes at every step along the way. Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. Give it time and your new habits are sure to become second nature.