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1) Set reasonable resolutions.

The time you take to research and refine your resolutions will pay off down the road. Figure out what it will take to get you from point “a” to point “b” before you make a declaration. What exactly does “run a marathon” mean? Would it require you to simply increase the training you already do? Or should you follow a couch-to-5K plan first to figure out if you even like to run? Be realistic.

2) Lay out steps to reach each resolution.

The resolutions you adopt should be broken into smaller goals. When you conquer each step on your resolution roadmap, take time for reflection, added research and revision.

3) Write it down.

Don’t just write down the general resolution, like “marathon” or “eat good.” Your resolution should define the steps you’ll take AND involve a daily checklist, a spreadsheet or even an actual map. Let your resolution guide the creation of the tangible way you will track your progress.

4) Put your detailed resolution plan someplace visible and touchable.

A single photo you place on your mirror of the beach might inspire you to think about your savings plan. That sort of reminder is useful. But, the actual document with the daily steps you’re taking to put money in the bank needs to be front and center on your desk, or your fridge or wherever you need it to be to physically check off that you’ve done the tasks you’ve set out to do. Whatever your resolution might be- eating better, exercising more, etc.- keep your documentation in a prominent place and hold yourself accountable by putting pen to paper. The act of tracking your follow-through and creating visual evidence of it can be motivating.

5) Tell someone about your resolution.

While a fear of failure might tempt you to keep resolutions to yourself, telling someone else about your goals will increase your accountability. Vocalizing it gives you ownership. Ownership gives you responsibility. If it’s a trusted friend, chances are they will ask you about it again down the road which can help keep you on track.

6) Don’t take setbacks as failure.

Plan to allow time to reorient yourself on your journey. There will be bumps and unanticipated stops along the way. You might think you know what your resolution requires and means when you initially set out. However, once you are on your way, circumstances will change as you discover new information.

Thinking about setting a New Year’s Resolution? Go for it.

Remember, the most awe-inspiring stories are often about the journey and the twists and turns along the way, rather than the destination. But, there would be no tale to tell without that first bold step.

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