Time for those New Year Resolutions!

We all make resolutions: to lose weight, stop smoking, save more money, or finally “live” our calling, and yet so many of us end up breaking our resolutions just as quickly as we make them. Here are some tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolution and making 2012 your best year ever!

1. Set specific, realistic and measurable goals.
Make a resolution that is suitable to your daily lifestyle. Make one that you can blend into your schedule quickly and easily so you can see and measure success.  When you make specific goals, it is easier to track your success and keep yourself on track for reaching your goals. Don’t just say “I want to lose a lot of weight.” Say “I want to lose 4 pounds this month” and keep journals of your weekly weigh-ins, workouts and eating habits. Plan ahead for daily challenges and setbacks.  Schedule each day what you will do that will help you progress toward your goal.

2. Get a friend to join you.
Friends keep us inspired and enthusiastic about accomplishing our goals.   You are more likely to go for a long walk if someone is waiting for you to start.  It is much harder to quit smoking if all your friends are puffing away.  Find a friend and make an agreement together to engage in a plan to reach your shared goal.

3. Write down your goals and make them visible.

If you resolution is to budget yourself better, keep a little index card in your wallet with a little message like “Do I really WANT this?” that will save you from those impulse purchases.  Same message for weight loss.  This cuts down on impulsive moves that seem more attractive in the moment but will take you off track for the long-term.

4. Reward yourself.
Focus on what you have done and will do instead of the “giving up.”   Reward yourself along the way with small prizes or time to yourself.  Long walks or long baths—rewards don’t always have to involve food or money.

5. Don’t make too many resolutions.
Concentrate on one or two goals rather than taking on too many.   If you do just one thing differently in the New Year it can add up (e.g., 20 sit-ups a day, write 20 minutes a day on that novel you have always wanted to complete, save $20 a week).

6. Keep track of your progress…and setbacks.
Keeping a journal or log of your accomplishments will keep you motivated.  But also keep notes of when you get off track and how it happened.  When you write down where you had a setback, you can learn from your mistakes and most importantly, learn to deal with challenges differently the next time they present in your life.   EXPECT you will stumble—pick yourself up and move on.

Have a healthy and happy New Year!