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New Year’s resolutions are a joke. We all vow to eat better, get in shape, get a better job, clean out the garage, and on and on. The first of the year seems to be an ideal time to do that.  New year, new habits. Right? Wrong.

Ask any personal trainer. The month of January is a zoo at the gym, as the masses look to fulfill the promise of a better body.  But come February, the gym is half empty again.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  With each passing year, the failures mount and discouragement rises.  Will we ever be able to fit into the jeans we wore in high school?  Will you ever earn the income that you feel you deserve?

The key to successfully accomplishing everything you want in the coming year is to set achievable goals and then create a plan of action. It took more than a month to gain those extra 10 to 20 pounds. Why set yourself up for failure by setting unattainable goals? Most experts will agree that losing 2 pounds a week is more realistic, and much more sustainable. So it will take more like 5-6 months to lose that 40.

Take Small Bites

Apply this principle to every aspect of your life.  If you have a pile of self-help books that you bought and never read, figure out how many pages a day you can realistically read.  Figure out how many pages are in that reading pile, then put a number on how many months it will take you to get through that pile.  Think of the sense of accomplishment you will feel when you’ve actually finished those books.  And the knowledge you’ve gained will most likely put you well on your way to achieving other personal and career goals.

Set Clear Steps

What are the steps that need to be taken before your goal can be achieved? To get through that pile of books, we need to take the time to sit down and read every day. This might require changing some habits. If the last thing we do every night is watch the news, which is most likely the same news we saw earlier in the evening, why not turn the television off and read for half an hour?  In the words of author and business leader, Leo Babauta, “Adding little amounts at a time makes a huge impact.”

Change One Habit at a Time

Losing that extra weight will surely require changing some habits, and taking small actions every day that, over time, will get us to our goal. Maybe it’s switching from soda to unsweetened green tea one week, and switching that nightly dessert from cookies to a piece of fresh fruit the next week.  If we break down our goals into manageable steps that we know we can take, before we know it, we will have accomplished our goal.
How will YOU approach the new year?

“Just get started. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start.

~Leo Babaouta

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