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10 ways to really keep your New Year’s Resolutions

December 29, 2014

By Paul Brucker

Every year, millions of people make resolutions for the New Year only to become discouraged and then discard them within weeks – or even days. How would you like to fare better and make resolutions that you can actually keep? “It might be easier than you think!” says Dr. Gayla Swihart DeHart, a goal setting and follow-through coach from Vancouver, Canada. Here’s her plan to help you realize your plans.

  1. Be selective. Make your resolutions things you really want, not things you merely think you should work on.
  2. Make a reality check. Make sure your resolutions are do-able and manageable. This year’s resolution, after all, may be a step toward a grander goal that will take longer than a year to realize.
  3. Be action-focused, not results-focused. Become clear about what actions you can take. While we can change our behavior, we may be unable to control the results of that behavior, including the reactions of others.
  4. Put your goal in writing. This helps formalize your idea into a decision and commitment.
  5. Be specific. Give yourself firm dates and measurable actions, such as this: I plan to work out in the gym three days a week for at least 30 minutes, starting January 10.
  6. Be compelling. Write down the strongest reasons for realizing your goal.
  7. Don’t overload yourself. Don’t defeat yourself by trying to change too many things at once.
  8. Make your goal public. Firm up your commitment and gain support by telling others your plan.
  9. Be persistent, but nice to yourself. If your resolutions plans become derailed, be flexible and get back on track by revising your dates and goals.
  10. Consider a coach. Coaches can help you stay focused and motivated, according to Dr. DeHart (who, after all, is a coach).