Keeping Resolutions…at Any Time of Year

It’s not easy keeping resolutions. Turning those goals into actual results… Well, that can be tough. But there are some things that can help.

  1. Be specific. You’ve heard this before, because it’s true. It is much easier to aim toward something and actually take action if you’re specific about it. For writing, this might mean deciding not just to “write more,” but to write “one piece a month.” For business owners, this might mean adding one additional hour to your cold call marketing. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish, define a specific step you can take to work towards it.
  2. Create a habit. To make your goals come to pass, you’ve got to keep with it. That means you need to keep it up past the discomfort point, until what you’re doing feels good, natural, necessary. I had to push through many weeks of not wanting to go to the gym but going anyway. Now I am uncomfortable if I don’t go to the gym. That’s how you make a habit. It’s hard work, and it takes discipline to push through the times you want to quit or procrastinate. Do the hard work. It’s worth it.
  3. Keep a log. That could be a journal. A quick note in your phone. Whatever. But there’s something about writing things down and keeping track that helps you keep up a habit. You can do this with all sorts of tasks and goals. And no matter how small it may seem, give a little attention to that accomplishment by writing it down. It’ll make you feel successful, which is a key to helping yourself move forward. And you can pull out that log anytime you need to encourage yourself to keep going.
  4. Be accountable. This is like keeping a log, only you get another person involved. This is particularly helpful when you have an honest, loving person who will tell you kindly when you’re getting off track. And also, choose someone who will genuinely enjoy hearing about it when you stay on track and have success. You don’t need frenemies. You need partners, coaches, buddies, mentors.
  5. Put something on the line. It can be money. It might be a massage or pedicure (two of my favorite things). A trip to a movie you’d like to see. An ice cream cone. Just because we’re adults, it doesn’t mean a little reward is a bad thing. Indulge the kid in you with a promise that your success matters because it will get you something. Or, if you’re wired this way, plan to “lose” something if you don’t succeed. (No coffee for a week, money to charity instead of to that new laptop you want, no chocolate cake tonight, that kind of thing.)

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