Keeping A New Year S Resolution

Making a New Year”s resolution is one thing; keeping it is quite another. While the majority of Americans make a New Year”s resolution of some kind, only about half of the population is still working toward that resolution after just a couple months. Only about 20 percent end up reaching their goals.

Focusing on Goals

Sticking to a self-improvement plan is very difficult. Keeping a New Year”s resolution requires commitment. Some people just hope for change and wait for the miracle. Others roll up their sleeves and think positive thoughts about the benefits of the change: It”s no surprise that the committed goal-setters win in the end.

Another element that helps people with keeping goals and resolutions is a clear vision. Picturing yourself with your goal achieved can help you focus on your goal and remember what you”re trying to accomplish. Clear vision can be achieved by visualization. Some people, however, find writing down their resolutions is a good way to keep a clear vision.

Keeping Goals Reasonable

Keeping your goals and resolutions reasonable can prepare you for how hard your goal may turn out to be. No one can change all of their bad habits all at once or self-improve all aspects of their life instantly.

Generally, people who set New Year”s resolutions feel motivated and empowered at first and can begin making progress toward achieving their goals. However, after a bit of time, many people will lose focus and slip up or give up altogether.

One of the aspects of keeping goals reasonable is to plan ahead for failure. While that may sound somewhat negative, it”s also realistic. Slipping up just means you needed a break. Get back on track tomorrow. Don”t wait until next week.

Plans and Schedules for Keeping Your Goal

Of all the strategies for successfully reaching goals, writing down your goal and the benchmarks for reaching it is among the most powerful.

Charting your progress takes only a few minutes a week. If you”ve decided to save money on lattes, for example, set the money aside in a special piggy bank and count up the savings once every month. Figure out what you”ll do with the money you saved.

If you”ve decided to reduce the stress in your life, write down some specific goals:

  • Hire a sitter and go on a date with your spouse once a month.
  • Limit your kids to one sport or activity outside of school instead of spending all your time in carpools and fundraisers.
  • Play relaxing music tapes on your drive home instead of listening to the news on the radio.
  • Read a book on your back patio on Sunday afternoons instead of spending the day preparing a big dinner.

Keep track of the hours you save and make a list of the enjoyable things you plan to do with your new leisure time. Check off the items as you do them and double-check those that gave you the most pleasure so you can put them on the next list.

Everyone, including moms who are staying home with the kids, should keep a calendar or planner of some type where they can pencil in planned activities. Plan your weekends well ahead of time: Family picnics, bike rides, helping out in the community and visits with grandparents can be scheduled along with activities like a long, hot bath, a date with your girlfriends or a drink after work with your spouse.

Keeping Resolutions: The Buddy System

You”ve probably noticed that many really difficult goals are easier to reach in the company of friends, family members or peers going toward the same goal: Weight loss groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, support groups, yoga classes, bowling teams and mall walkers all work together to achieve more than they could alone.

Groups provide real support. Besides making new friends with kindred spirits, you”ll get ideas, inspiration and people who will help you celebrate your successes. Groups can also help you get up when you fall and gently redirect you when you”re tempted to make excuses.

If you can”t find a group in your area with goals that are similar to yours, go online and find a chat room or publish a call for participants. You”ll find everyone from recovering shopaholics to ex-gamblers.

Resources

Silver-Stock, Carrie (2005). Making Your New Year”s Resolutions Stick. Retrieved October 1, 2007, from the World Wit Web site: http://www.imakenews.com/worldwit/

e_article000503950.cfm?x=b6m6b0T,b20HHTRS.