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Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

You’ve made them, now actually keep them

It’s the oldest story ever told: You wake up New Year’s morning feeling totally motivated. Armed with the best of intentions, you tell yourself I will give up smoking! or I will fit into those skinny jeans! Two months (or weeks or days) you find yourself ripping into a bar of Jersey Milk or Camel Lights. However, if you’re determined that 2011 will be your year, try these goal-setting (and goal-keeping!) tips.

Be Specific
Making a vague, undefined resolution such as,  I will lose weight! isn’t going to get you anywhere. Instead give yourself a specific number and a deadline, such as, I will lose 20 pounds by December 31st. This will keep you from going astray or changing your target mid-way through the year.
Be Realistic
So, you’re going to lose 50 lbs., run a marathon, call your mother everyday, find the man of your dreams and save up enough money for a trip to Fiji? Lets be serious. Making an unrealistic New Year’s resolution is only setting yourself up for failure. Instead, skip the impending guilt trip and keep your resolution realistic.  

Write It Down
For some reason, writing things down  – groceries lists, study notes and, yes, New Year’s Resolutions “ makes us more likely to remember them. If you want to actually keep your New Year’s resolution this year, write it down!  Doing so will also help you make your resolution more specific. (See: Be Specific.)

Post It Where You’ll See It
Now that you have your well-worded and hand-written resolution, put it somewhere you will see it every day. If you’re trying to lose weight, tape your resolution to the fridge. If you’re trying to get out of debt, leave it in your wallet. The constant reminder will help keep you on track.

Get Inspired
Take a cue from Oprah and create your very own vision board. Post inspiring quotes, helpful articles and a photo of the sexy LBD you want to fit into by the end of the year. Most importantly, post your resolution in big, bold letters. Take a minute each day to look over your vision board to get inspired.

Find Yourself a Resource
Find a website, phone app, etc. that will help you reach your goal. If your New Year’s resolution is to cut back on spending (and you happen to live in the US), sign up for Mint.com. If you’ve resolved to eat better, get in shape or lose weight, download an app such as Lose It! or iMapMyRun.

Tell Everyone You Know
Among your closest friends, you’re known as Ms. This-Is-My-Last-Cigarette. However, if you really want to quit smoking, you’ll need to tell everyone you know, that you have officially smoked your last cig. That way, there are more people to hold you accountable when you start to get cravings.

Visualize
Goal-setting experts say that visualizing is key. The next time you’re stuck in traffic, allow yourself to daydream about how hot you’re soon-to-be-slim body will look in that new bikini, how fulfilling your dream job will be or how beautiful your newly-renovated kitchen will look.

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