10 Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

With just a few days left to 2011, some are looking toward making resolutions for 2012.

As I gotten older (and hopefully a little wiser), choosing the right resolution and sticking with it has gotten a little easier. The key is that I’ve been choosing resolutions that help me work toward a realistic, happier, and healthier life.

So if your’re thinking about what you would like to accomplish next year, here are 10 tips for helping you keeping those new year’s resolutions for 2012:

1.  Find a support system. This is an absolute must when making any type of change in your life. It’s critical to have someone, be it a family member, friend or co-worker, who will keep you accountable and encourage you.

2.  Use online tools. There are lots of these everywhere on the internet, many of them of them free. Sites like SparkPeople offer message boards, meal planners, video resources, and online food diaries to keep you on track to meet your goals.

Other free web apps to keep you on track with your new year’s resolutions are JoesGoals.com (daily goal tracking), FitDay.com (losing weight),  TaDaList.com (online to-do list), CoolRunning.com, and even list your goals for millions to see at 43Things.com.

3.  Write it down. Studies have shown that when you write down your goals, you have a better chance of accomplishing your goal. When you just verbalize your goals, chances are you’ll forget about them after the first week. If you really want to succeed, write those important goals down.

4.  Be specific. Just like you need a map to get to a new destination, you also need to crank up your goals’ GPS system and tell it exactly what it needs to do. So instead of “become more assertive”, you could write down “Go to my boss and ask for a raise this year.”

5.  Take small steps. Many worthwhile goals require patience and persistence. No one gets from A to Z in one step. It’s a process. If this is a weight loss goal, begin by starting an exercise program. Once you select the exercise program, establish the days of the week you’ll be working out. Tackling a small step successfully directs you toward continuing your goal.

6.  See the big picture. When faced with a setback or discouraged, it’s easy to lose sight of your goal or resolution. Don’t! Your goal is still attainable even with a few setbacks. Celebrate the small victories knowing that each of them lead you closer toward accomplishing your goal.

7.  Visualize. Spend a moment everyday visualizing yourself completing your goal. Even create a ‘vision board’ where you cut out of pictures that signify the end result of completing your goal. Whatever your goal, put up pictures and look at them every day.

8.  Set a deadline. Decide on a specific deadline for achieving your goal. This will keep your mind on target toward completing the goal.

9.  Don’t compare yourself to others. This is a tough one. Although someone else may have the same resolution, they also may be getting farther along in their goals than you. Resist the urge to compare yourself. Each person is different and you don’t know what support system or tools they are using. Instead, just be happy for them and ask how they’re doing with their goal.

10.  Abandon bad resolutions. Unfortunately, there may be a time when a resolution might have be discarded. This doesn’t mean failure. Instead, it might be just what you need to have a new goal that’s much more manageable.

The bottom line to remember when pursuing a goal…be kind to yourself. We all falter here and there. But what’s important is get back on track and stay the course.

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