By On January 17th, 2008

How to keep your New Year’s resolutions on track

It’s a praiseworthy action, creating a list of New Year’s resolutions, but let’s face it, we are human. Realizing our short attention and commitment spans necessitates planning if we are to achieve the goals we have created. The following is a list of ten ideas for keeping your New Year’s resolutions on track:

1. Use a daily goal assessment as a way of checking your progress. Assessing your goals on paper keeps structure in the process of achieving your New Year’s resolutions.

2. Make it a habit. It’s a good idea to associate your assessment and planning time with another predictable continuous activity that you perform on a daily basis, or weekly basis. For instance, you might make your shaving time a moment in which you review that check list plastered to your bathroom mirror.

3. Make sure your goals are attainable. One unattainable goal can crash the rest of your list. If your goals are not attainable, if they are not palatable, then you’re setting yourself up for failure that could translate into feelings of frustration and self-defeat strong enough to make you oust the rest of your list. So keep it simple Simon.

4. Another important point when considering the maintenance of your New Year’s resolutions is to identify stressors. It may well be that the very thing you have resolved to do is becoming irrelevant because of the stress it is causing you. You may need to reframe your goal or the timeline associated with it.

5. Check yourself for excuses about barriers and impediments to progress. What are you doing to deal with those “bumps in the road?” You may just need some motivation. Try giving yourself a pep talk or writing one down on paper that you could read from time to time when you are feeling “an excuse” coming on.

6. Sometimes it’s not the goal you’re having difficulty with but an obstruction preventing you from addressing, or implementing, the goal in the first place. Perhaps your schedule is such that you’re not allowing enough time for implementation or maybe you’re simply allowing random “things” to eat up your time by not creating healthy boundaries. In scenarios like this a minor tweak or two could be the answer.

7. Stay focused on goals that are a priority. Odds are that your list of New Year’s resolutions contains goals that are forthcoming as well as goals that can wait. Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to take on every goal at once.

8. Leave yourself adequate time to balance work, family and personal commitments. You may find that your New Year’s resolutions are eating up time with family, recreation or personal commitments. It may be time to take a step back and see if you have too much on your plate.

9. Avoid engaging in the old, dysfunctional behaviors that derail your progress. This is kind of an “if / then” situation. You may not be planning on dropping the ball but engaging in seemingly unrelated behaviors, or activities, may cause you to. “Sleeping late may eat up your time for, overeating may make you sluggish when,” you get the idea. Avoid derailing your progress with dysfunctional behaviors.

10. Avoid an “all or nothing mentality.” Resolute Ryan, after missing the mark, says, “Well, that’s it. I broke my New Year’s resolution. I guess I can start back up next year.” That kind of thinking will end your progress before it begins. Give yourself room to make a mistake now and then; in fact, expect mistakes.

Keeping on track with your New Year’s resolutions is a process of patience and planning. If you are willing to approach your goals intelligently and with preparation you will increase your likelihood of succeeding. I wish you the “best of planning.”

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