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Five steps to help you keep New Year's resolutions, by David S. Allen

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As the calendar rolls into 2015, about half of the U.S. adult population will make New Year’s resolutions. If history is an indication, we will try in the New Year to become thinner, healthier, wealthier and better organized.

Here’s the top ten list of what we resolved to do a year ago:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Stay fit and healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others in their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

Those were noble endeavors but there was a problem. As usual, we didn’t keep the resolutions we made. Estimates peg the number of completed New Year’s resolutions each year at less than one in ten.

Why is sticking with New Year’s resolutions difficult?

According to the time management/productivity gurus at FranklinCovey, we bite off more than we can chew. We desire to do things like lose weight and exercise more but we underestimate the challenges of breaking or beginning habits. Those experts say we improve the chances of keeping New Year’s resolutions if we follow these steps:

  • Make the resolution reasonable. Unless you are a marathoner, for example, don’t resolve to finish next week’s marathon.
  • Make the resolution measurable, with goals in small bites. Want to lose 20 pounds in 2015? Decide how much you can lose in the first 30 days. And the 30 days after that, and so on.
  • Out of sight is out of mind. Keep the resolution in front of you. Smart phone apps like Life Reminders, Fantastical 2 and Evernote can help do that. So can a Post-It note and a trusty number two pencil.
  • Ask someone to hold you accountable.
  • Take time to think through every resolution before it is made. Decide if it is really doable. They advise against making a hasty resolution while hoisting a glass to offer a New Year’s Eve toast.

I am proud to say I have made my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 and I fully believe each one is doable. I resolve to eat more fried green tomatoes, to always add melted butter to my popcorn and to set a personal record for Mt. Dew consumption.  I can't wait to get started. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!