It’s that time of year again… We all promise ourselves were going to lose weight, get healthy, pay off our debt, organize our house, stop smoking, go to church more often, spend more time with our kids, and the list goes on.
But how many of us (myself included) gets half way thru month 1 and says “I give up?” Well this year my resolution is to not give up, and here’s a couple tricks and tips for keeping on track and sticking with it!
- .Make it something you really want. Don’t make it a resolution that other people or doing, or others tell you that you want. It has to fit for you. If you don’t really want it, your really not going to stick with it throughout the year.
“Put some thought into it,” says Richard O’Connor, author of “Happy at Last: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Finding Joy.” And avoid knee-jerk New Year’s resolutions, he says. “I encourage people not to make cheap resolutions, but to save it for something meaningful.
2. Limit your list. It’s best to stick with a top 2 or 3 things you really want to change. By limiting your list, your focusing your efforts on do able things you really want.
3. Be specific. To be effective you need to specifically list what you want to change. If you want to “work out more” set a specific list. “I will work out Monday thru Friday at the gym before work at 6:30 a.m., or after work at 5 p.m”. If you want to pay off your debt, set a specific way that you are going to accomplish your goals. Research states that people that have a specific ‘to do list’ are more likely to take on the task.
4. Automate. Automating goals (especially financial) can maximize your odds for success because you don’t put any extra work into it each month. If your goal is to save $2,000 this year, calculate the amount from each check that you need to put it savings, and have it automatically deposited into your savings account each pay period. If you swore to go to the gym 5x a week, have your membership auto withdrawn monthly, your work out bag always packed, and your reminder set on your phone.
5. Make a plan. (continuing from step 3) have a Goal, and steps on how to get there. Having a step-by-step plan to your goals will help you realize how far you’ve come, and keep you motivated to make it to the end. Set up rewards for yourself after certain steps to keep you going.
6. Change your old habits out for new ones. As they say, “old habits die hard”, and that’s the truth! Take it one day at a time, and eventually your old habits will be exchanged for new ones! If your goal is losing weight, take the habit of sitting on your rear in front of the T.V. and put yourself on the treadmill. Have ready-made snacks and dinners for those ‘rushed’ nites to avoid fast-food (for both health and money reasons!) Each day that you exchange your bad behavior for a good one, your that much closer to changing your ‘bad’ habit to a ‘good’ one!
7. Write down the goal and visualize it regularly. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a goal because they fix it firmly in the subconscious, says Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Write down your goals and put them in a place where you will see them frequently. Your computer, phone, frig, bathroom mirror, or even your steering wheel. That way you have to see them, and they are a constant reminder of what you need to do.
8. Accountability. Having someone hold you accountable can be a powerful tool. Want to REALLY push yourself? Post your resolution on Facebook or Twitter and ask your friends to check up on you throughout the year. Making a public announcement of your goals will help you stay motivated to stay on track.
9. Forgive yourself. As much as we’d like to finish a year out saying we did everything right all 365 days of the year, for most of us that is not going to happen. Don’t give up, learn from you mistakes, and keep on truckin’.
10. Have fun with it. Trying to lose weight, pay off debt, or save money doesn’t have to be all hard work. Join a Zumba class with a friend, make it a game to see how cheap you can make dinner for, go the library and rent movies, look for inventive ways to stay cheap. But enjoy! Life is too short , so whatever your resolution have fun doing it!
And REMEMBER – you don’t have to wait for next year or give up because you got off track, realize that screwing up is part of the process, and jump back on the wagon! It’s never too late!