DOs and DON’Ts for New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

DOs and DON'Ts for New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep

Two years ago I had only one resolution: submit a manuscript to an editor before the year was up.

Any manuscript.

Any editor.

I didn’t expect it to lead to anything. I just needed to get over my fear and do it. That turned into my first book contract. (To be published next year!) None of which would have happened if I hadn’t made that one small resolution.

New Year’s resolutions are one way to help yourself achieve a larger goal.

Most of us have failed at meeting our resolutions. Science says resolutions can work when done right.

To help with that, here are my DOs and DON’Ts for setting your 2016 resolutions.

DON’T: Make large, unachievable resolutions. “Become a best-selling author” is probably not achievable. At least not in the space of one year.

DO: Make resolutions that are hard but doable. “Finish novel first draft” is realistic but challenging.

DON’T: Pick vague resolutions. “Exercise more” is a common resolution. How much is “more”? If you normally stay glued to your couch, does walking the extra 3 feet to the recliner count as “more exercise”?

DO: Pick specific resolutions. “Train for and run a 5K” is specific. You know exactly what you must do to meet this goal. Programs even exist to help you.

DON’T: Forget to set a deadline. “Pay off debt” is doable and specific but without a deadline you might not get around to it.

DO: Set doable deadlines. “Pay off debt by June” gives you a deadline. Now you can start budgeting for the next 6 months.

DON’T: Set too many resolutions at once. “Train for a 5K and finish novel first draft and volunteer at the kids’ schools every week and……” This is just another way of making your resolutions unachievable.

DO: Focus on the most important goals. For most of us, one or two hard but doable resolution will be about right.

DON’T: Make a resolution and forget about it. That’s a sure-fire way to fail your resolutions.

DO: Share your resolutions with supportive friends and family. They’ll keep you on track and support you along the way. Why not start in the comments below?

 

What are your 2016 resolutions?

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