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We’re looking at 2017 looming large, and while a new year brings so much opportunity, we tend to start off badly, by failing to keep our New Year’s resolutions. Guilt follows, along with a determination to do better next year. Still, that guilt can be depressing. Perhaps we think we lack willpower. Maybe, we get the wrong impression that our resolutions “just aren’t meant to be,” or are too lofty. More often than not, people simply err in two areas when making New Year’s Resolutions

The biggest mistake people make when considering New Year’s Resolutions is confusing a good idea with a resolution. There are so many different good ideas we can come up with that could improve our lives. Tons of them! They’re all good. A resolution, on the other hand, is simply something we undertake. People generate lots of things they think they should do or be. Often, another person like a spouse has hinted at resolutions in an effort to “help.” A New Year’s Resolution has the best shot at success if it’s something that matters to you, and matters a lot!

The second huge mistake is making vast, all-encompassing, general and hard to define resolutions. “I will be healthier in 2017” is a good idea but a lousy resolution. What about, “I will be a kinder person in 2017?” Lovely idea, but way too broad. First, we have to make our New Year’s Resolutions measurable. Second, each resolution must be the culmination of a plan. The plan can be rough, skeletal, but still needs to be there. If you want to lose weight in 2017, pick an amount you want to lose. Fifty pounds? That’s your resolution. Now, a way to keep New Year’s Resolutions is to break them down into manageable, small objectives that you can meet. Meeting an objective boosts your confidence. There are 12 months in a year, so if you want to

lose 50 pounds, you can break 50 pounds down into about 4.2 pounds a month. “I’ll lose a little over 4 pounds a month to meet my goal of 50 pounds lost in 2017.”

Then, keep a little record. It doesn’t have to be a big journal. Just a note on a calendar, either one on your phone or a plain desk calendar, to keep track of your progress. This can help give you a daily boost of confidence.

Don’t forget to plan how you’re going to lose this weight. People often overdo their planning by joining gyms, buying exercise equipment, electronic step monitors, and all sorts of things that only work if you use them. Much of the time, these items turn into more hassle than they’re worth. There are many practical ways to accomplish New Year’s resolutions without spending a ton of money.

Announcing your New Year’s Resolutions isn’t always a great idea. Some are personal and private. Others turn well-intentioned friends into spies and nags who’ll chastise you for having an extra slice of cake. If you think you’re going to appreciate their well-intentioned oversight, think again. No one likes being monitored!

Finally, be kind to yourself. If to use our example above, you go astray one month and gain weight, that can be a big motivator to lose more weight the next month. Getting angry or feeling dejected is understandable, but abandoning a resolution will not even get you close to your goal. Make a little progress daily. That’s the key!


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