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How to Plan Your New Year’s Resolutions Successfully.

Bad habits that keep you from reaching optimal health, such as smoking, drinking or overeating don’t have to follow you into the New Year. However, if you don’t want these habits hanging around for another 12 months, you must prepare yourself psychologically, FIRST!

Experts agree that no matter how stubborn a habit you’ve developed, there are ways to break those negative patterns and keep healthy resolutions throughout the New Year. The trick is to keep everything in perspective.

Focus on realistic goals with measurable results. You need to break things down into small steps that you can manage. For example if you are trying to lose 50 pounds, you should focus on losing five pounds at a time. Instead of trying to lose five pounds a week, focus on losing one pound a week. Create bite-sized jobs for yourself that you’ll be able to accomplish. If your goal is too big, you’ll feel defeated before you even get started.

When deciding on your New Year’s resolutions, it is easy to get swept up in hopeful yearning. As the clock ticks away the final minutes of the old year, the excitement can be intoxicating. You believe that you’ll be able to tackle your goals effortlessly. But, after the initial rush of New Year’s celebration fades and reality sets in, your ambitions can once again seem insurmountable.

So, the key to achieving even your most lofty goals? Get started immediately.

Action precedes motivation, not the other way around. Read that statement again. Action precedes motivation. You should not wait until you are motivated to start. Just start. You will gain motivation as you go.

Instead of waiting for inspiration to act on your goals, you need to take action first and inspiration will follow. Your initial action doesn’t have to be anything big. Just by putting on your sneakers and hopping on the treadmill for 10 minutes, you will make that energy you are “waiting” for materialize.

Once you initiate an action — even the smallest of actions — you pick up momentum and you realize, ‘Hey, this isn’t so bad,’ and it becomes a lot easier to keep moving forward and to stay motivated.

Additional tips to help you reach your goal:

  • Avoid perfectionist thinking. While we certainly always want to better ourselves, it is healthier to think in positive terms than it is to focus on how much we fall short of our aspirations. In other words, students should view the grade of an A- as better than a B, rather than not as good as an A.
  • View setbacks as lessons for growth. Mistakes can be, and usually are, opportunities for learning. If you fall short of your goals, ask yourself what kept you from achieving them and then try to make corrections. People who like to sail understand this navigational concept. You almost never go directly from point A to point B. You set a course and periodically take readings of your position then make adjustments as you go along.
  • Don’t make absolute resolutions. Keep them realistic. So, instead of saying you won’t yell at your kids anymore, resolve to yell at them less often.
  • Don’t keep your resolutions to yourself. Tell someone you trust about your resolutions. It helps to share your goals with friends, who can gently nudge you in the right direction when you veer off course.
  • Give them some meaning. People sometimes make goals that aren’t necessarily meaningful to them. Your goal should be something you really desire to change or achieve, not something that society says is good for you to do or your family members would like to see you do. If you don’t have strong, internal motivation within yourself, you won’t be successful.
  • Take baby steps. Set realistic goals that are attainable and then take small steps that are likely to be met with success toward those goals. Don’t try to lose 10 pounds in a week or quit smoking cold turkey with no preparation. Instead, try joining a weight loss program and try to lose a pound a week, or join a smoking cessation group.

Sources: http://www.umm.edu/features/prepare.htm

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