Are you one of the millions of people who make big New Year's Resolutions each year, only to watch those resolutions fall by the wayside mere days or weeks later? Would you like to be able to set New Year's Resolutions that you can actually keep? It might be easier than you think!
Choose your resolutions carefully. These should be things that you really want and are ready to work on, not just things that you think you should work on.
Be realistic. Set yourself up for success. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Make it manageable. This year's goal can be part of a longer-term goal that you plan to achieve gradually. It doesn't all have to be done now.
Focus on actions, not results. Identify what you can do to move towards your goal. We can only change our own behaviour, not necessarily the results of that behaviour. Some things are out of our hands - for example, the reactions and behaviours of other people.
Write them down. This changes an idea into a decision into a commitment.
Be very specific. If you want to quit or start something, set firm dates for yourself regarding what precisely you are committed to do (or not do) on that date.
Know and write down WHY you want to change it. You can reflect on this if you slip up and/or if your motivation is waning.
Do not try to change too many things at once. Each habit that you want to change has taken a long time to develop and it will take some focused time and attention to alter your usual routine. Be patient.
Let other people know. Change is hard, and it is important to enlist a support network to encourage you along the way. This becomes a higher level of commitment.
Don't give up just because you get off track. Just revise your dates/goals, if necessary and start afresh. Many people give up my mid-January because they feel like they have already failed and will just be setting themselves up for more failure if they try to stick to the original plan. Be flexible, be nice to yourself, and remember that virtually everyone slips up. It is all part of the process of positive change.
Get a coach. A coach is like a personal trainer for your goals - they help you strategize the plan that will be most likely to succeed, will keep you motivated (which is the main reason people give up on their goals), and will keep your goals in focus even when you are distracted by the hustle and bustle of your busy life. People who use the services of a coach (or personal trainer) see faster, better results.
Dr. Gayla Swihart DeHart, from Vancouver, Canada, is a Professional Coach with a Ph.D. in Psychology. She helps busy professionals manage stress, improve goal setting and follow-through, and increase life and work satisfaction. More information on Dr. Swihart DeHart and her services can be found at http://www.AchieveExcellence.ca