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How to Make a Resolution and Stick to It

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You may have some free time to ponder your New Year’s resolutions this weekend, so while you’re thinking deep thoughts about ways to improve your life in 2013, here are some ways to make that new way of life stick. 

One thing that you can do is be specific. Instead of just saying you want to lose weight, commit to saying “I want to lose one pound per week until I’ve lost 20 pounds.” Instead of saying that you want to run more, say “I’m going to run 10 more minutes per day.” If you want to save more money in 2013, tell yourself, “I’m going to put $20 into savings every paycheck.” I said I was going to lose weight, but didn’t put a number on it because I didn’t want to fail if I didn’t make my goal, but when there’s no goal, there’s nothing to attain. Just set small goals and when you hit it, set a new goal. So, the new plan is to lose five pounds by January 31; which brings me to the next tip:

Set a benchmark. If you don’t have a start date and and end date, it can be very hard to get started and very hard to complete. Tell yourself you’re going to weigh yourself Sunday morning and mark down the date and how much you weigh. Then tell yourself you’re going to weigh yourself and keep track of your weight every every Sunday morning through the end of June, or until you’ve lost 20 pounds; then if you have more weight to lose like I do, keep going and set a new goal. If saving money is what you’re doing, say you want to put $240 into savings by June and then once you’ve done it, keep going and tell yourself you want to put another $240 into savings by December.

Don’t keep it all to yourself, though. If you’re going to lose weight, run more, quit smoking, etc. tell someone. You’re more likely to be motivated and accountable if you’re keeping track of it with someone else. If there’s someone at work, church or a friend in the neighborhood that has a similar goal, work together. I had the kids in the neighborhood yell at me when they saw me smoking. There’s nothing like 20 kids saying, “I thought you were going to quit smoking?” to get you to put it down. I had it in my head that I knew I had to kick the habit because of my asthma, but it’s so hard. It’s a lot easier if someone else is holding you accountable. Whether you use social media or social contacts around you, share your goals and your progress with anyone who will listen. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way.

Just remember that you’re human. It may seem at times that you’re not doing as well as you’d like to. It’s going to happen, and when it does, just dust yourself off and get back on the horse.

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