Planning Ahead: New Year's Resolutions

Frustrated with feeling like you can never stick to those New Year's resolutions? Here are some tips to help you prepare for the New Year, New You.

1. Plan ahead.

What are your goals for the next year? No matter how "crazy" or "far-fetched" they might be, write them down. It helps to put each one on a sticky note and put them up in a place that you tend to find yourself often. This way, you will be reminded of your goals everyday and not be able to use the excuse, "New Year's just snuck up on me, I didn't have time to prepare." Now you do!

2. Be creative.

Maybe your goals aren't the typical ones like the ones in the cover photo of this article, like stop smoking, lose weight, etc. Maybe you want to start spending more time with your family instead of going out on the weekends. Or maybe you would like to set aside every $5 bill that you come across that year, ending up in a huge reward at the end of December. Be creative with your goals and you will find that it is easier to stick to them.

3. Mindset is everything.

So maybe your goal is to lose those extra pounds or stop smoking. But you keep telling yourself that you can't do it. "You'll never lose the weight, you've been this way for too long." Well guess what? Yes you can. But you have to be able to turn off the voice in your head saying that you can't.

4. Use the buddy system.

It might help you to bring friends, family members, or close neighbors into helping you achieve your goals. Do you have a friend with the same goal to lose weight? Get a gym membership together. What about your neighbor down the street? Could he help keep you motivated with anything? Outside influences can really impact us, either negatively or positively, so why don't we strive for the latter?

5. Don't OVERdo it.

It's totally okay to have a lot of things that you would like to improve in your life, but I've found that it's much easier to sit down and figure out what few are the most important to you. This way, you won't be completely overwhelmed with a list of 29 resolutions that you feel you must achieve. (Which also in turn leads to you giving up on all of them most of the time!)

6. Make your goals with the Domino Effect in mind.

When figuring out what you would like to achieve for the upcoming year, think way into the future. Are you going on a "Couple's Trip" next September? Well sure, you have "a ton of time to get into shape," but we all tend to say that everyday until, well, the trip is here. This is where the Domino Effect comes to mind. Getting in shape--sounds great, right? You'll look good, feel good, and you'll know that you achieved your goal. Well there's another bonus...think about how happy you'll be on your vacation when you're confident with yourself and proud that you set your goals and actually stuck with them. Keep this Domino Effect in mind when you make your resolutions. A goal with multiple benefits is most likely going to be more successful in the end.

7. Reward yourself.

Last but not least, reward yourself. Just because your goal is to "eat healthier," doesn't mean you can't have a chocolate bar every once in a while. Make a habit of rewarding yourself whenever you meet a certain criteria. Have you gone an entire month without a single sugary drink? Maybe give yourself a break and enjoy one can of your favorite soda. Just don't overdo this one; it's quite easy to grab another can after the first one when you haven't had one in quite a while. Self control is key here.

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