Be honest. How many New Year's resolutions have you actually kept? I mean kept long term...as in accomplishments you have maintained over the years since you made up your mind to change?
Most of us resolve on January 1 to get fit, lose weight, get organized, quit smoking, save money... We jump head first into it only to burn out and give up before Valentine's Day. Many of us keep making the same resolutions year after year...and fail at them year after year.
For it to work and to stick, it requires commitment to real change...life change...permanent change. That's not something to undertake on a whim or to jump into without a plan, especially since our self-esteem is usually the biggest casualty of non-success. Resolutions may be made overnight but are only truly achieved over a lifetime. They require personal evolution.
Anyone who has studied science knows that evolution takes time and patience...perseverance, adaptability and survival. To put the odds in your favor, set yourself up for success:
- Be realistic in your expectations. Even small improvements will move you in the right direction.
- Plan ahead for the challenges. Have a back-up plan for when life gets too busy, your energy level or bank account too low, or your will too weak to stick to your primary plan.
- Create reminders of why you want to change so that you can talk yourself through the temptation to quit.
- Keep yourself accountable. It's always more fun with a friend along to give you moral support.
- Reward yourself along the way. Decide ahead of time how you will celebrate the small, interim victories, and do it!
- Give yourself credit more than criticism. Even the smallest victories deserve acknowledgment!
- Expect setbacks and don't allow them to derail you. Remember that losing is just quitting while you are still behind.