Make…And Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions For 2017

It’s the time of year when we start thinking about resolutions. There are things we do – or don’t do – that have to change. And the beginning of a new year is the time for it.A-promise-you-keep

Good intentions aren’t enough to make and keep resolutions. You’ve got to add habit and resolve to the equation. Here are ways to stick with your aspirations.

Stay Flexible

We agree with Yoda. Saying you’ll try to keep a resolution sets it up for failure. “Do or do not,” is wise advice. It’s also advice that’s easier to follow if you avoid “all or nothing” types of resolutions.

Your New Year’s resolution is to hit the gym 3 times a week. Does it go down in flames because a big work project has you spending extra time at the office? Exercise in any form keeps you moving toward your goal. Envision a gym equivalent for those days you can’t spare the hour. Skip the elevator and substitute your drive to lunch with a walk around the block. This flexibility keeps you on track to succeed.

Be Clear

Flexibility prevents failure to keep resolutions. Lack of clarity prevents you from feeling accomplishment. Make sure your goal has a specific outcome that can be measured. It’ll help you track progress and keep you motivated.

Resolve to do things that are relevant. You’ll ditch that goal as soon as you get busy if you won’t see an obvious change when you set it aside. Attach it to a time frame. It’s another way to measure progress.

Break It Up Into Pieces

“I’m going to lose 25 pounds this year.”

“I’m going to lose 2 pounds a month this year.”

One of these goals has a defined path to success, with a specific outcome that can be measured. It’s also flexible and realistic. Which resolution feels like it’s easier to achieve?

Put It On A Calendar

Out of sight, out of mind. You’ll start skipping those 3 weekly gym workouts if you don’t schedule them. Put technology to work, and have your smartphone remind you. It’s a psychological reward to be able to put a check mark next to the box.

If you’re like most of us, there’s already plenty on your calendar. Your resolution will increase in relevance when you elevate its importance in your planning.

Add Accountability

You’re off the hook if you fail to keep a New Year’s resolution nobody knows about. Don’t give yourself that escape clause. Share your goals with people who are important to you. Let them know you’ll appreciate it when they ask how it’s going.

One effective way to keep your resolutions on track is to find an accountability partner. This is someone you know and trust, who has a similar goal. A shared resolution is easier to keep because you’ve got help along the way – and someone to challenge or chastise you if you falter.

New Year’s resolutions are supposed to be aspirational, not setups for failure. You’ll have a better outcome for success if you bake these ideas into your approach for next year.

And what if you fail to keep your resolutions?

That’s often part of the process that leads to eventual success. Check out our “not-so-secret mantra of success,” where we talk more about how mistakes are bad only if you fail to learn from them. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do it again. Who says you have to wait for another new year?