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New Year’s Day: How to Resolve & Execute

The simple act of declaring New Year’s resolutions makes you ten percent more likely to achieve them than someone who doesn’t (www.statisticbrain.com). Why not get the odds on your side? Use these four tips to bolster your chances of success and ring in the New Year with a plan.

1. Choose goals you really want to achieve

One of the biggest reasons people don’t keep resolutions is because they don’t choose goals they truly want; they chose goals they feel obligated to achieve. Smokers know they should quit smoking, but they may not be ready for such a big step. Instead, a smoker could choose to exercise more or eat better, if those are outcomes he/she would be truly excited about. If you’re honest with yourself and have some openness, you might make a goal to investigate three methods of quitting between January and March and then re-evaluate in spring. Or maybe you feel motivated to cut back to five cigarettes a day from seven. It’s not all or nothing, and most people don’t change habits at once. Being honest makes your goal closer to your heart and your reality.

2. Be SMART

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals are the most effective. Compare “I’m going to eat better,” with “I’m going to eat five servings of vegetables five days per week and only one dessert per week for the first three months of 2015. In April I’ll cut out dessert altogether.”

3. Get support

Recruiting fellow goal setters always makes the journey more fun, holds you accountable, and gives you the sense that you’re not alone. Or, maybe you lack expertise. A nutritionist, personal trainer, physician or life coach can make all the difference.

4. Know your weaknesses

Prepare for setbacks and have a default plan when things get tough. If you’ve resolved to stay off sugar, but know you can’t resist Aunt Martha’s homemade fudge, then you need an exit strategy for when Aunt M comes around. Maybe you tell her ahead of time not to bring you any, or you agree to allow yourself one serving and then you’re going to jump up screaming, “I’m late!” and run from the room. Whatever challenges might appear in the long road of improvement, try to identify them ahead of time and know what you’ll do when you meet them face to face.