We all have New Year’s resolutions—but how many of them have we actually kept? Here are some tips to help you build your resolve and determination, and help you end 2012 knowing that you got to make one of your dreams come true.
Make a contract with yourself
Writing a resolution down somehow makes it feel more formal and real. It can also force you to clarify what you really mean. For example, “I want to lose weight” doesn’t seem that formidable when it’s on paper. But saying “I will exercise three times a day” will also help you think about how you’ll make time for exercise, what you may need to do (sign up for a gym? Buy running shoes?). Then, like any other contract or document, sign your name and hold yourself to it. You may even want to get “witnesses” to countersign it!
Make a visual reminder
Tear out a picture that symbolizes what you want, or write a sentence on an index card that you tape to your mirror. Or, make a picture your computer or phone screensaver.
Find a “resolution buddy”
Team up with a friend or relative who shares that New Year’s resolution. Or join a web forum, where you can have a virtual network of people who can give both encouragement and their tried and tested tips.
You may occasionally fall off the bandwagon—that’s okay, as long as you pick yourself right up and get back on board. And you may also realize that some resolutions are unrealistic. Revising them is part of making your goals fit into your life.
Replace bad habits with good ones
Instead of saying, “I won’t be a pushover at work” say “I will speak up at least once during meetings.” Or, instead of “I will not gossip” you can say “I will read more so I have more interesting things to say at conversations.”
Make a vision board
Find images and phrases from magazines, write out your favorite inspiring quotes, and paste on a thick cardboard and post in your room.