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10 Steps to Making and Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

10 Steps to Making and Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Here is a summary of how to select goals and meet them based on decades old advice from some of the popular self-help success books. (Image courtesy of Thinkstock)

It is that time of year again.  Time to set your resolutions for the coming year.  What?  You don’t do this?  You may want to reconsider.  It is a sure way to make some real life progress.  I have been doing this for years and it works, if you do it right.

Establishing some new year’s resolutions is just nothing more than goal setting.  And, as you probably already know, goal setting is one of the key factors in achieving some success in life.  As it turns out setting real achievable goals is trickier than just making a to-do list.  Here is a summary of how to select goals and meet them based on decades old advice from some of the popular self-help success books.

First, there are all sorts of goals.  There are personal goals, work goals, family goals, and financial goals.  Then there are long term, short term and in between goals.  Long term goals are like life goals.  Sort of like a bucket list.  Short term goals are like daily to-do lists.  Interim goals are things you want to accomplish within weeks or months.  New Year’s resolutions are all about what to accomplish during the year.  Let’s stick with that definition.  Here are the basic rules.

1. Set specific goals.  Be clear what the goal is.  Give details.  Vague goals are never accomplished.  Just saying you want to be richer won’t work.  Give a dollar amount or some other measure.

2. Set realistic goals.  Let’s face it you probably won’t be a millionaire or president of your company by the end of the year, unless of course you are almost there anyway.  Select a goal you actually have a chance to achieve.  It should be a bit of a stretch or challenge or you may not consider it progress. 

3. Make education a goal.  Make an effort to learn something new during the year.  In the field of electronics that does not stand still, continuous learning is a must to stay competent and in the game.  What do you need or want to learn?

4. Stick your neck out.  Take some chances.  You may be risk-adverse but remember the only way people make real progress is by sticking their necks out.  Don’t be afraid to think big.  I am not advocating stupid goals loaded with risks but calculated risks should help move you up the ladder, so to speak.

5. Make your goals measurable.  How do you know if you have actually achieved your goal?  If the challenge is to lose weight, then state how much.  Give yourself a real target like lose 20 pounds of achieve a new weight of 185 pounds.

6. State a time frame.  Set a date by when you want to have crossed the finish line.  For annual resolutions, the end of the year is ok but you may want to finish some goals sooner.  Give a specific date.

7. Write down your goals.  I know.  This sounds trivial.  Most people can easily remember their goals but writing them down really makes a difference.  I am not sure why this is but it is a “must-do” step in the process.

8. State the goals as if they have already been achieved.  This too sounds a bit contrived but it has been proven to work.  Just do it.  For example, “my new weight is 185 pounds”.  This is another way to trick your mind into helping to make the goal come true.

9. Read your goals at least once a day.  Just to remind yourself of the objectives.  These are called affirmations.  Again, it seems like an unnecessarily fussy process but it does work in your favor.  It keeps your mind focused on the targets.

10. Visualize achieving your goals.  This is a great use of day dreaming.  It may sound hokey but it has been shown that clearly seeing your goals being achieved is one key to making them happen.  Do this while you are reading your goals daily.

And that’s it.  Give it a try.  You have nothing to lose and it may be the way to get where you want to be by next year.  Just be careful what you wish for as this really works.

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