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Don't "Drop the Ball" on Your New Year's Resolutions!

We make them every year - and most of us break them every year. Step out of the old pattern this time by getting on the right track right away on January 1st. Here are some tried and true tips to keeping those New Year's resolutions on track.

woman doing yoga on a pink mat

Define & Refine Your Resolution

Work toward this year's resolution with a clear-cut goal in mind. For example, you may have resolved to drink less coffee this year, but how much less? You can refine that goal to be something like this: "get down to one cup of coffee a day this year." Similar tactics can also be applied to most broad New Year's resolutions to narrow them down.

Setting a clear-cut goal makes it easier to gauge your progress every step of the way and gives you something concrete to work toward.

Tell Others About Your Resolution

Friends and family can serve as a great support network, offering encouragement and motivation when you need it. Tell others about your resolution, and you will likely get some useful advice and plenty of support.

You may even find a friend with the same New Year's resolution, opening up the opportunity to work with them toward your shared goal.

Set Short-Term Goals for Yourself

Short-term goals can serve as stepping stones, and you can make great strides toward accomplishing your resolution by setting and completing goal after goal.

Working toward one part of your resolution at a time can seem less daunting than trying to tackle the entire goal head-on. For example, if you have resolved to quit smoking this year, try first cutting down by a certain amount. Say, if you're a pack-a-day smoker, resolve to get down to half a pack within the first two months. Or if your goal is to lose weight, focus on losing those first five pounds. The same mentality can be applied to any number of resolutions.

Chipping away at these goals and achieving small victories can help tremendously in working toward the bigger picture.

Track Your Progress Regularly

Whether you keep a journal, map out a progress chart, or simply jot notes on your calendar, tracking your progress serves as a regular reminder and keeps you focused on achieving your resolutions.

Keeping track of your goals also helps you notice patterns of success and shortfalls from day to day, so you can see which efforts are most effective.

Have a Reliable Backup Plan

When temptations arise and your strength is running thin, it helps to have a reliable safety net to fall back on. Whether it's calling a friend for assistance, making a pros and cons list, or placing sticky notes around as reminders, you will find it easier to stay focused if you plan ahead.

Slip Up & Move On

Don't stress out over an occasional slip up. It may be challenging at times, and you may not always succeed in each goal you set for yourself, but don't abandon your resolution. Continue working toward your goal each day to the best of your ability.

Find tips on losing weight during the holiday season >>

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