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How To Set and Keep A New Year's Resolution

One of the best times of the year is when we get to start all over. It wouldn’t be January 3rd if we all weren’t concerned with our New Year’s Resolutions and how we are going to accomplish them. Here is a list of some of the most popular including, quite possibly, your key to a successful 2011.

Most people make some effort to get in shape for the new year; gym membership sales shoot up and running shoes are bought, but the effort only lasts a couple of months. To avoid this tapering off, set specific fitness goals to accomplish in weekly or monthly increments. Shoot to bench press your body weight by February or try to stay on the treadmill for 30 min after two weeks. Keep your goals bite sized and the feeling of success will motivate you throughout the year.

You want to help others. Who? How? When? To accomplish this goal, you need to decide who you want to help and when you have the time to do it. Many organizations require you to set a volunteer schedule in advance, so you first need to decide how many hours per week or month you can commit. Also, you should decide in advance whom you want to help and why. This way, your actions are guided and you get exactly what you want to out of the experience.

Now that we have the Internet, learning something new is not an unrealistic goal. However, more specific goals will realize this resolution. Narrow it down to something like “learn more about current events” and start reading the newspaper or “learn a foreign language” and get a language learning kit. If your goal is more literary, there are plenty of reading clubs at local libraries, or you can start your own with a group of friends or even your significant other.

If you drink in excess and to dangerous levels, quitting drinking is a great goal. For this goal, moderating drinking initially is not always the best option. Experts say that quitting cold turkey is best to break habits that are automatic and associative. Plus, if you are unable to abstain for a month, successful moderation is probably not an option and you should seek professional help or a support group.

Get organized – another vague goal. Define what you need to get organized and start in a specific place. For example, “clean out the garage” or “organize finances” are great starting places. Nine times out of ten, once you accomplish a certain aspect of “getting organized” others will follow; not unlike when you clean the bathroom, the kitchen is quickly next on the list.

So whatever your goal, if it is one of these or a variation, remember that success will only be possible if you break you resolution down into specific tasks. Once each one is accomplished, you will be more motivated for the next one until you achieve victory. And when you feel down and out, your friends and family are your best resource. Happy 2011!

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