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Keeping resolutions

The end of a year is a powerful time to assess what we have achieved and make resolutions on what we want for our lives. New years are like fresh sheets with nothing written on them: we have the chance to imagine what we want and make plans toward achieving what we dream of. However, it is easier to make resolutions than to stick to them.

But in 2013 you could be one of the people who actually stick to their resolutions and end the year feeling enthusiastic about how much you achieved. How? By using one or more of these 10, time-tested secrets for making good intentions stick.

Keep things real. If your goals are not grounded in reality, they are just wishes. For example, if you are not used to exercise, your chances of winning a marathon within the next year are slim to none. But if your resolution is to finish a marathon, the probability is much higher. Stretch yourself, but don’t untie your goal from reality.

Own it. Make sure that achieving your resolutions depends only on you. You can get as much help as you need along the way from coaches and buddies, but, in the end, you are responsible for your own success.

Motivate yourself every day. Keep a list of your resolutions in a visible place. Write your top goals at the top of every to-do list.

Break your big goal down into smaller milestones. If you plan to achieve something by the end of the year, think of milestones that will help you keep tabs on your success. Outline monthly goals or even weekly targets, so you know exactly where you are.

Track your progress. Keeping a journal is a fantastic way to assess what you achieve and to help you get organized. It also helps when you need to change your strategy.

Enlist supporters. Get a “resolution buddy” and encourage each other. Talk about what you have already achieved and what you still need and listen to other points of view about your experience. In our experience, when people feel accountable to another person, they will usually jump through hoops to ensure they follow through on time.

Carve out time in your schedule. Organize your day in a detailed, daily schedule that will help you figure out how to make time for yourself.

Reward yourself. Each time you complete a milestone, reward yourself. It may be as simple as a piece of chocolate or a manicure, but rewards are a marvelous way to give you incentives.

Get help. Most people who achieve their goals are quick to point to others who helped them along the way. If possible, hire people who are experts in what you don’t know instead of thinking you will be able to do it all.

Get rest. Tired people are not productive. If you want to do so much that you never have time to rest, your chances of achieving your goals are reduced, and if you are constantly worn out, it will seem easier to forget about your resolutions.

– Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore,