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Every year comes with the promise of a new beginning. But many people find it all too easy to slip back into their old habits. By following a few simple tips, you can keep your resolutions this year and integrate them permanently into your life.
Make a Reasonable Resolution
One of the pitfalls that snares a lot of people results from them setting their sights too high. Without a doubt, ambitious goals can help people make drastic changes. However, remember that progress happens one step at a time. For example, the first step toward financial freedom might consist of eliminating all your debts rather than striking it rich. Set goals just beyond your comfort zone.
Take Immediate Action
Lists can do wonders for a resolution. Write down the important aspects of your resolution and a plan for achieving them. Then look at what actions you can take immediately, even if they are small. The sense of achievement from these small victories can build the foundation for future success. Use that feeling to fuel your determination.
Change the Peripheral Aspects
Your resolution doesn’t exist in isolation from the rest of your life. Don’t sabotage your success by changing one thing while leaving the rest of the related parts of your life intact. Imagine a smoker who leaves lighters and ashtrays around the house. The cigarettes have disappeared, but the accessories linger on as a temptation to fall back into the old pattern. Cut all ties from your pre-resolution days.
To Tell or Not to Tell
Depending on your resolution, you may or may not want to tell people. A supportive network around you can add to your chances of success. Sometimes, though, negative influences can have the opposite effect. If you know you will hear disparaging comments from coworkers or family members, don’t feel obligated to give them all the details. Let them notice later when you have achieved your goals.
Remind Yourself of the Reasons
Never lose sight of why you decided on this resolution in the first place. The daily grind has a way of making us lose focus. Remind yourself that you are trying to feel better, improve your health, get closer to your loved ones, or achieve professional goals. Let the past version of yourself inspire you to become a better future version of yourself.
Don’t Be an Absolutist
Falling off the wagon doesn’t have to end your resolution. In fact, you can use it as a reminder of exactly why you chose to change in the first place. As difficult as it can be, look at your relapse or failure as objectively as possible. Analyze the reasons for your actions. Then, stop dwelling on it and recommit yourself to your goal.
Cut your resolution up into discrete sections. Depending on your goal, you might divide it into stages or just track your progress on a daily or weekly basis. Remember that the overall goal is based on all the smaller actions you take. One by one, these will add up, but most people find the going much smoother if they can measure their progress on the way. If you have promised yourself to save a certain amount of money, for example, calculate your savings as a percentage of your overall goal on a weekly or monthly basis.
On a similar note, set aside times to reward yourself when you achieve goals, no matter how large or small. Keeping five pounds off for a certain period of time might call for a cheat day, for instance. Other resolutions may require rewards in completely different areas of life, like a day out of town or splurging on something you have always wanted. How you reward yourself doesn’t matter as much as sending a positive signal to your brain in relation to your new way of living.
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