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How To Make Sure-Fire New Year's Resolutions


Updated December 27, 2007

I have never in my life heard someone in November say, "I'm still keeping my New Year's resolution." Most people have long abandoned their resolutions by February. Why? I think we create poorly worded resolutions that don't have a chance. This year, use the points below to create a sure-fire, fool-proof (no offense) New Year's resolution.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 20 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Focus on the Process
    Almost every resolution focuses on an outcome, such as losing 40 pounds or running a marathon. Instead, focus on the process that will get you there. This means that your resolution should focus on what you will do, not what you will get. Translate your wish list for the new year into concrete actions. For example, try pledging to eat 20% less at every meal instead of losing 40 pounds.
  2. Make It Daily
    Your best bet for success is turning your resolution into a daily action, so that it becomes habitual. Engaging in at least 10 minutes of exercise everyday, for example, is a better than saying you'll go to the gym 3 times a week. You can always do more than the 10 minutes, but (on a bad day) you can still meet your goal with a quick 10 minute walk.
  3. Visualize
    It may sound like new age hocus-pocus, but visualizing yourself doing your resolution can help. When you visualize, your brain "practices" your action. Musicians and athletes use this to improve their performance, and you can use it to increase your success. Just spend a few moments picturing yourself eating less, exercising more or relaxing in the new year. Make it vivid -- picture sites, smells, and sounds.
  4. Feel It
    You need to feel the benefits of your resolution in your body. That means you need to pay attention to how your body feels. Does your resolution improve your sleep, mood or energy level? Does it remove stress from your life. Ask yourself what benefits you should be expecting. Check in with yourself daily to monitor the benefits of your resolution and truly feel your progress.
  5. Commit
    A New Year's resolution won't work if you don't commit to it. Write down a sentence that says what you are going to do in the new year. Once you write it down, tell everyone about your plans. The more people you tell, the better your chance for success --they can hold you accountable to your pledge, and you can feel an increased sense of needing to stand by your word.

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