How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Michael Essany Headshot by Michael Essany on January 12, 2011
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Whether it’s your business, your life, or a combination of the two that requires a few tweaks in 2011, there’s no time like the start of a new year to chart a course for personal and professional improvement. Yet the time honored tradition of making new year’s resolutions can quickly result in frustration and, ultimately, failure. Fortunately, there are several savvy steps that can be taken to ward off the weariness that can result from trying to go the distance with your resolutions.

The Fewer the Better

The number of resolutions one makes directly correlates to their likelihood of success or failure in keeping them. With rare exceptions, those who make only a few key resolutions based around core issues and objectives enjoy a higher success rate than individuals who get a little too ambitious come January 1.

Be Realistic

Before plotting out your New Year’s resolutions, carefully consider what is and what is not an attainable 12-month goal. Those who set realistic objectives based on equally realistic time tables will find themselves poised for success during the year ahead.

Avoid Old Resolutions

With a new year comes both a literal and figurative new beginning. As such, studies confirm that newer goals and objectives are much more likely to be achieved than yesterday’s unfinished business. Although you can still pursue unaccomplished goals or previous resolutions, keep your primary ambitions fresh and interesting by reserving this year’s list of resolutions exclusively for new endeavors.

Have a Concrete Plan for Abstract Goals

Simply resolving to be “happier” or “more financially secure” isn’t enough. Abstract resolutions require specific plans in order to reach a desired end result.

Make an Investment

Making a resolution is equivalent to making an investment, according to successful resolution-makers. When a resolution is met, you or your business will have tangibly gained something. By viewing resolutions as investments, it’s easier to hang on to that investment until it ultimately pays off and yields a desired dividend.

Build Your Support Base

While some prefer to keep their resolutions top secret, those who share their goals with co-workers and other trusted friends and family members stand to benefit enormously from encouragement during times when willpower is weak.

Don’t Sweat the Setbacks

New Year’s resolutions aren’t for the faint of heart. Their pursuit will, almost without exception, be met with setbacks. Prepare for them accordingly and don’t let bumps along the way get you down.

Brace for a Marathon

Most resolutions fall short due to the impatience of those who set them. If a goal for 2011, for instance, is to double the traffic to your website, don’t lose heart or abandon the resolution once February arrives and you find that traffic has stalled. A worthwhile New Year’s goal requires running a marathon, not a sprint to reach the finish line.

Michael Essany Headshot

Michael Essany is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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