January 1, 2010

How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Years, folks! Hope you had a lovely time last night celebrating the dawn of a new year and a new decade.

So, did you set any career resolutions?

You know, I read an interesting (and by interesting, I mean completely depressing) statistic this week that less than 5% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. Less than 5%! No wonder there are still so many fat, out of shape, smokers in America!

If you are bound and determined to stick to your resolutions this year (truthfully, I prefer the word “goal” — it already sounds more successful!), I have put together a great list of resources you should definitely check out.

First, click on over to How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution at Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist. She has five great steps for making sure you stick to your guns this year. My favorite piece, though, is her suggestion for taking baby steps:

For example, if you go tell yourself you have to drive to the gym every day, you can change your life. You don’t need to force yourself to workout. You probably will, but you can tell yourself you just need to drive to the gym. … So you don’t need a goal of working out more or eating better. You just need to change your daily schedule so you drive to the gym and sit in the parking lot.

Along those same lines is Kate Hutchinson’s Making Resolutions That Stick post. She writes: “You have to realize that big changes don’t happen overnight, they take time and effort. Don’t resolve to lose 100 lbs if you can’t start with a single trip to the gym.”

If you are looking for less platitudes and more plans, look no further than Zen Habit’s wildly influential Leo Babauta and his awesome post, The Definitive Guide to Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions. Among other great kernels, Leo refers to his 6 changes method — where you make six changes to your life in one year. That’s one new habit or behavior every 2 months. By the time you are ready for the next habit, you are already cruising along on the first. Clear your mind of all the other stuff you “have to do” and focus, instead, on doing that one thing. Brilliant! (And while I’m gushing like a groupie, I love what he has to say about the importance of triggers.)

What’s your plan of action for keeping your New Year’s resolutions? Talk to me in the comments section. (And I promise to get back to our regularly scheduled posting cycle next week… no more goal-setting posts for a while!)

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