How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

This year, don’t let your New Year’s resolutions be just another list of to do’s that you never get to and feel guilty about. Here are some tips on how to make some resolutions that you can actually keep.

Challenging yourself is a great idea, but be kind to yourself too. Keep in mind that a resolutions typically involve major changes in lifestyle and habits, and those don’t occur overnight.

If you’ve decided to get organized, for example, which appears on lots of top ten most popular resolutions lists, you’ll need to break that goal down into many subgoals with tasks for each. Some examples are “open and sort the mail everyday” and “spend five minutes clearing off my desk every evening.” You could even put those down as resolutions.

The start of the year is a natural time to make changes. If it’s not right for you, though, because you got that terrible cold that’s going around, or you have family commitments that keep you occupied, just postdate your resolutions.

Adding a date to a goal is a good practice anyway. It makes it more specific and more real. You won’t be able to fool yourself into thinking you’ll start “tomorrow.” So date your resolutions to start at the beginning of March, or another date when you’ll have the time and energy to act on them.

Trying to honor all your resolutions at once will probably just frustrate you and make you quit all of them. Give yourself a better shot at success by starting one at a time.

Pick the most pressing one to start first and then wait until you’ve developed some new habits to support that resolution (hint: when an activity becomes a habit, you don’t have to think about it very much). A few months later, you’ll be ready to take on a new challenge and give it your full attention.