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A new year, a new start

As the calendar changed to 2019, people all over the world started to rethink their priorities. They started to make new goals, like to lose 10 pounds; make new plans like to travel at least once a year; or make new resolutions like to quit drinking.

It is a time for change.

But what does it take to make a change? Making a change, as it turns out, is surprisingly hard. Just ask your friend who wanted to lose weight or travel more or quit drinking. My guess is that they struggled for a bit.

There’s hope.

The good news is that there are strategies that have been proven to work and that aren’t often utilized. Here are 4 secrets to a more successful resolution.

Be specific.
The more specific you are about your resolution, the more likely you will be to attain it. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, there are myriad ways to do it. Knowing exactly how you want to lose weight is essential. So what does that mean? It means specifying exactly how much weight you want to lose, over how many weeks or months, and by what means you will do it. For example, instead of saying I want to lose 10 pounds and just joining a gym, try saying I want to lose 10 pounds over 3 months by working out 3 days week for 30 minutes.

Set realistic and manageable goals.
This is a big one. It’s easy to get really excited about something, especially at a time when your friends and family are all doing the same thing – making resolutions. In that excitement, we tend to believe much is possible. What we need to do is make sure, in fact, it is attainable. For our example about losing weight, wanting to lose 40 pounds may be attainable. However, it may be a big goal and before it happens, you may lose interest or motivation. Try instead to break that down into manageable pieces. Lack of achievement isn’t a great motivator. Success is. So, instead, try to lose 3 pounds a month.

Tell people.
For many reasons, we may not want to share with people that we’re trying to lose weight or quitting smoking or drinking. We may feel shame, guilt, defeat. Instead, we keep it to ourselves, thinking about it daily, trying to make changes. However, a key thing we’re missing is that we have no support from the people we trust most. Instead, tell people. Tell your friends and family. Have them help you keep on track. Use them for support and rely on the fact they care about you.

And most importantly, celebrate milestones.
Resolutions can be fun. They can a place where you gain a sense of pride and your self-esteem grows. And they can be hard work. So, if you achieve your goals, no matter what they are, celebrate. Tell people. Because what you did may have been hard for you and that’s worth celebrating.