Have you made your New Year’s resolution? Have you made the same resolutions before and failed? Well, that could be your first step to success this time around. Take a look at why you were unable to keep your resolutions and take steps to keep those challenges at bay. Here are some tips to help you stay on course:

Make Your Resolutions Realistic. Instead of vowing to lose 50 pounds, aim to lose 10. Then be smart about it. Don’t look for an easy way out. For example, pass up the miracle weight loss drug and focus on retooling your eating habits. Choose healthier foods, learn to avoid fats and sugar, eat smaller portions, eat only when you are hungry, etc. If you set your goals too high, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Take Baby Steps Along the Way. While your ultimate goal may take a year to achieve, set mini goals by the month, week and day that will motivate you along the way. List your mini goals in your planner or PDA. By focusing too hard on the future, you may find the “now” too difficult to deal with.

Enlist Your Family and Friends. Share your goals with your spouse, your children and your friends. Ask for their encouragement and share in your progress. You might even want to enlist the help of a professional life coach or a personal trainer.

Find a Buddy. Whether your goal is fitness or learning how to play the guitar, if you can find a friend to pursue your dream, it will be that much more fun. And, when it’s time to go to class or sit down to practices, you will be less tempted to skip out.

Pay Up Front. If physical fitness is on your list, invest your hard-earned money in an annual gym membership. You will be more likely to go!

Visualize the Results. Take a few moments to do this little exercise: close your eyes and see yourself after you have attained your New Year’s resolution goal. How do you feel? How do you look? How are you acting? Are you filled with more joy and confidence? How are others responding to you? Write the answers to these questions down. Whenever you’re in a situation that tempts you to stray from your goal, read your answers.

Give Yourself Permission to Start Over. Life happens. Plans go awry. You may get sick, have to deal with a family emergency or face a sudden career change. Give yourself permission to set your goal aside while you deal with any such crises. Once the dust has settled, start again. Remember, life’s not a destination, it’s a journey. Enjoy the trip!

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