It’s that time of year again – wanting to change or better yourself.  As it turns out about 50% of Americans set a new year’s resolution.  According to researcher Richard Wiseman, 88% of all those who set resolutions fail.  That’s about 156 million disappointed people.

Does that sound like you?  I know that for many years I set a resolution: lose weight, get healthy, save money, travel.  By February that idea faded.  Sometimes I didn’t even make it to February. So I decided to do some research to see if this year could be different.

What I learned is that resolutions (at least my resolutions) are too vague – get healthy, save money. The key for success is to make any resolution a habit first.  And start small.  For example:

Resolution – get healthy vs Habit – At lunch I will go for a 10 minute walk;

Resolution save money vs Habit – I will deposit $25 from each paycheck into my savings account.

As you can see by changing the vague resolution into a habit or SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) we can increase the chance for success. Now instead of my new year’s resolution being “to save money”, I will choose a SMART goal – I will deposit $25 each pay period into my savings account.

The four most important parts to make your new year’s resolution stick are:

  1. Pick only one resolution – the one thing that’s most important to you.
  2. Take baby steps.  (If saving money is your goal, but $25 is too much – save $5, save your change).
  3. Hold yourself accountable.  Tell others or write it down.
  4. Reward yourself.  This can increase your chance of success.

Be gentle with yourself. Realize that you may mess up, but keep at it.  I wish you much success on your 2014 goals (resolutions).


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