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Nix the New Year's Resolution! Opt for New Year's Goals to See Success

Posted Jan 03 2012 11:34am
As we kick off another year, most of us have finalized our New Year’s Resolutions. The first couple weeks tend to start off with high hopes and intense dedication, but by the time spring rolls around, odds are we will have long abandoned those newfound behaviors and slipped back into old routines.

Maybe it's time to approach things differently! Instead of resolving to make rigid changes or focusing on vague aspirations, set goals that you can quantify, make progress towards, and achieve.

Resolution: A firm decision to do or not do something.
Goal: The result or achievement toward which effort is directed.

Not sure if you’ve made a resolution or set a goal? Ask yourself these 4 questions to find out!

1. Are you focused on something specific? While resolutions are often vague and undefined, goals should be clearly measurable. A resolution is usually something like "Lose weight" or "Save more money". A goal should be specific, such as, "Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, four days per week" or "Put $100 per month in a savings account".

2. Do you have a plan for progress? Goals are something we work to achieve and typically involve creating a plan for progress. For example, a training schedule for an endurance event, or a weekly meal plan when shopping for groceries. The plan offers steps to follow and allows habits to develop to keep you on track.

3. Will you feel a sense of accomplishment? Resolutions tend to be very firm, set-in-stone behaviors - "Go to bed by 11 pm every night", "Stop eating junk food", "Exercise more during the week" - whereas goals allow for baby steps and small successes along the way. Once you begin recognizing these accomplishments, feel proud of them! Let that excitement fuel the growth toward continued success.

4. Do you want to do this? Generally, when goals are set, we take something from our "bucket list"' and are finally prepared to work for it. On the other hand, resolutions are usually behaviors we think we should adopt, but may not necessarily be ready to commit to.

So take 5 minutes (or 10 or 20) and revamp your resolutions into goals. Once you do this, you'll find yourself on a much better path for success in 2012!

What's on your list of New Year's Goals?
What tips would you suggest for staying motivated to achieve these goals?
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