It didn’t quite happen last year, and the year before that didn’t work so well, but this year, it’s going to be different! This is the year that you are finally going to stick to those New Year’s resolutions. How, you ask? By following a few simple tips:
Don’t go overboard. One reason why so many people aren’t able to keep their resolutions is because they simply have too many of them. When you’ve got more than one or two, by the time the year gets into gear on January 2nd, it’s easy to lose track of what you were trying to change. Make a list of the resolutions that you had in mind, and pick the two that you’d most like to see happen. Two resolutions are much easier to achieve than ten!
Write it down. After you’ve selected one or two resolutions to focus on, write your resolutions down in places where you’re likely to see them – the refrigerator, the mirror in your bathroom, your computer, etc. This simple reinforcement will remind you that you’ve committed yourself to making a change.
Be specific. Resolutions that are vague are inherently hard to stick to. When you can’t visualize exactly what you want to do, it’s hard to know when you’ve done it. Goals such as “I want to lose weight,” “I want to exercise more,” and “I want to read more books” are harder to visualize than goals like “I want to lose fifteen pounds,” “I want to go the gym three days a week,” and “I want to read two books a month.” By making your resolutions specific, you can much more easily picture what it is that you want to achieve, and you can measure your progress toward your goals.
Set a timeline. Take a look at your calendar for 2005. Make notes on your calendar of how much of your resolution you’d like to have accomplished by the end of each month of the year. As the months go by, you can monitor your progress and see how well you’re sticking to your schedule. You’ll likely need to make adjustments as the year proceeds, as life tends to happen and schedules shift. Even so, having a loose, adjustable schedule is better than having none at all.
Don’t give up. Even if your resolution doesn’t stick right away and you don’t find yourself transformed by January 7th, stick with it. Most experts say that a new habit takes between a four to six weeks to develop, so give your resolution time to get integrated into your life.
The New Year is ripe with possibilities, and you CAN make this year’s resolutions happen, with a little planning, determination and commitment.
Joshua Zerkel, Professional Organizer