Making a New Year's Resolution is exceptionally easy. We all do it, almost without thinking. It's part and parcel of the season. I will lose fifty pounds. I will work out every day. I will decrease my debt, get organized and be happy, once and for all. No harm in saying those things - after all, part of the fun of beginning a new year is the thought that, this year, you just might become a better person.
The difficulty lies in the fact that, often, those resolutions are so difficult to keep that most of us are set up for failure almost before we begin. In order to avoid becoming yet another person whose resolution has fallen by the wayside before the month of January is over, here are some steps to help you succeed.
- Make it Realistic - Do you have a large amount of weight to lose? Are you in debt up to your eyeballs? Is your house crazy disorganized? There's no way you can do all of those things at once. Setting unrealistic goals is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to keeping a New Year's Resolution. Instead of trying to fix all of the areas of your life that need attention, focus on one. Maybe you can rotate your resolutions - spend a couple of months on one and then move to the second. Don't try to do everything at once - it's a recipe for failure.
- Break It - Into smaller pieces, that is. If you need to lose 100 pounds, set smaller goals. Can you lose 5 pounds? Do that, and then move to the next weight goal. Organize a closet, and then a cabinet. Remember - you eat an elephant one bite at a time, and your own goals should be similar. Those smaller successes will help fuel you onto bigger ones.
- Make it Public - No, nothing as rash as a newspaper ad or a vehicle wrap. If you want to lose weight, tell someone and ask them to help you stay on track. Maybe you can start a blog chronicling your weight loss efforts. Ask your spouse to help you track your spending and make a chart to reduce your debt. Ask a friend to help you organize your closet and pay her for her time. New Year's Resolutions that are made public are more likely to succeed, especially if you've told a lot of people - no one wants to be embarrassed.
- Be Kind to Yourself - Never, ever humiliate yourself. i can't believe I let myself get this heavy/be this deep in debt/be such a mess in the house! Don't dwell on what's in the past. Focus on ways that you can make positive changes and create new habits.
- Get Over it and Move On - Maybe you cheated on your diet while watching a football game. Hey, it happens, Pick yourself up and begin again. Many, many people who have succeeded at their resolutions report having to start over more than once. The only thing that separates the failures from the successes is the number of times that they've given up. Trite, but true. Start again - there's no cost.
What was your New Year's Resolution? Have you been able to keep it? What has - or will - helped you?