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Three Tips for Sticking to Your Resolutions

New years’ resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. For some reason, we depend on this one single time during the year to muster enough motivation in order to make significant life changes. And there are pros and cons to these resolutions- on one hand, there is considerable potential for positively changing your life. On the other hand, though, we often make such grand resolutions that they tend to slip away within months, thus instilling in us a sense of failure (which, I think we can all agree, is never a great way to start a new year). In order to improve our chances for success in 2015, we have compiled a short list of ways to keep your resolutions for the new year:

#1: Keep your resolutions as simple and as manageable as possible.

One of the great things about new years’ resolutions is that if we succeed in keeping them, we feel a sense of achievement. This sort of positive reinforcement can stretch to other facets of our daily lives and motivate us to improve ourselves whenever and wherever possible. These successes don’t necessarily have to come in the form of grand resolutions, either. Small achievements can be equally as motivating. Therefore, instead of resolving to love fifteen pounds by June, think of it as improving your overall health by June. That way, if you lose six pounds instead of fifteen pounds, you’ll still feel successful.

#2: Figure out what you shouldn’t be doing to keep your resolutions.

It may seem borderline counterproductive, but making a to-don’t list can be just as helpful as making a to-do list. Thinking about your resolution in terms of what not to do can actually help you to remain realistic about your goals. Meaning, if you ultimately want to quit smoking, don’t solely think about it as “I want to be a non-smoker”. Instead, start small. “I don’t want to smell like cigarettes when I go to work in the morning. Or, “I don’t want to spend forty dollars per week on cigarettes”.

#3: Keep your resolutions somewhat private.

While it may seem like a good idea to fill others in on your resolutions in order to keep yourself accountable, making your goals public only invites unnecessary self-criticism when you do mess up. Tad Waddington, Ph.D., CEO of Lasting Contribution and author of Return on Learning, says “"It is almost impossible not to slip,  and the moment you feel you've let someone else down, you'll fall deeper down a hole of self-criticism. You'll have to spend more time getting out of said hole, rather than getting back on track with your goal.”


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