Choose a resolution you can keep

-- Metro Creative ServicesDecember 27, 2012 

New Year's resolutions may have varying degrees of success, but even those people who find it difficult to keep their resolutions year after year still tend to make a new resolution once the hour of midnight chimes. Though it may seem as though resolutions are made to be broken, resolutions can be the first step many people take toward a happier and healthier life, making them more than just a silly annual exercise in empty promises.

A common hurdle many people must clear when making a New Year's resolution is choosing the resolution itself. Resolving to become a millionaire in the next 12 months is likely unrealistic, as is taking on the same resolution you made last year that proved unsuccessful. Before making a New Year's resolution this year, consider the following tips aimed at helping you choose a resolution that has a chance to be successful.

Make it something you're likely to enjoy.

Resolving to lose weight is perhaps the most popular New Year's resolution every year. Though there's no way to measure how many people make this resolution and stick with it, it's safe to assume many people fall short of their weight-loss goal. That's because the steps people must take to lose weight are not always easy to embrace. Many people join a gym in January so they can fully commit to their resolutions to lose weight. But joining a gym isn't always the answer, as it's easy to become intimidated at a gym where the majority of your fellow members are already in great shape. But this doesn't mean you should shy away from your resolution. Instead, look for ways to make your resolution enjoyable so you're more likely to stick with it. If you have resolved to lose weight but a gym isn't for you, sign up for a dance class or join a cycling group. There's more than one way to commit to a given resolution, and finding the mostenjoyable way to tackle your resolution is often the easiest way to make it a success.

Make it a realistic goal.

Your resolution should be realistic. If not, the chances of being successful are slim. For example, resolving to move overseas by the end of the coming calendar year may be a great goal, but if you have no job prospects overseas or too many commitments at home, then this goal is not very realistic and you probably won't make it a successful resolution. However, this doesn't mean you have to abandon your dream of moving overseas. Instead, resolve to make changes that make your desire to live overseas more realistic. Learn the language of a favorite country or learn about that country's job market and work toward making yourself more attractive to potential overseas employers. This is a more realistic goal than deciding to move overseas in the very near future, and it sets you up for future success should you resolve to move abroad down the road.

Employ the buddy system.

Resolutions don't have to be a one-man show. In fact, your resolution may prove easier to keep if you can find someone to go along for the ride with you. For instance, if you have resolved to quit smoking, find a friend who also smokes and commit to your resolution together. You can lean on each other when times get tough and serve as each other's watchdog to make sure neither one of you is straying from your goal. If you resolve to learn a foreign language in the year ahead, find a friend to enroll in a class with you. As additional motivation, commit to visiting a foreign country where this language is spoken at the end of the year if both of you have successfully fulfilled your resolutions.

Develop a plan before making any commitments.

Before you commit to a resolution, develop a plan as to how you're going to make that resolution a success and determine if this plan is realistic. For example, if you resolve to lose weight, part of your plan should include an exercise regimen and any dietary changes. Once you have laid out this plan, examine it to see how likely you are to stick with it. If your plan includes waking up at 6 a.m. every morning to workout and you know waking up that early is problematic for you, then you don't have to abandon the resolution, but you might want to develop a new plan that's more likely to be successful. The plan should be in place before you make your resolution. If you simply cannot map out a plan that's amenable to your schedule, then this resolution might prove very difficult to keep and you might want to explore another option.

Many people find their New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside come the end of January. But those serious about making a change can take steps to ensure their resolutions are a success.

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