What were your resolutions for last year? I remember mine: to take life less seriously and slow down a little, and to stop being so judgmental. These weren't easy goals for someone as hyper-vigilant as I can be, but I found that having some helpful tips makes a big difference.
1. Take stock of what happened last time. For better or worse, your performance last time you set resolutions can be a useful educational tool. What worked for you, and what didn't? Setting goals that are realistic is not easy. It's not just about writing stuff down on a piece of paper.
2. Get your passion flowing. Going into something half-heartedly is the fastest way to make sure you won't succeed. Choose resolutions that you really want to do, changes in your life that you're really passionate about making. Doesn't it make sense to focus your efforts on the things that really move you? Think long and hard about this, and whatever you choose, get excited about it.
3. Make an announcement. Your friends are the greatest cheerleaders you could ever hope for, and it would be silly not to make the best use of that. Get everyone together, and let them know what you're doing. They will be your shoulder to cry on when things get rough, and they will cheer you on when things are going well. It's wonderful to have a support network.
4. Keep it visual. Knowing what your goals are is one thing, but having constant reminders means you will stay continually motivated. Write your goals on your bedroom mirror. Put another set on the refrigerator. Send yourself memos and messages. Anything you have to do to keep your goals in front of your eyes.
5. Check yourself at the halfway point. Don't wait until the end of the year to assess how you're doing - make at least one checkpoint along the way to take stock of your progress. It feels great to see how far you've come, and that can help renew your excitement about the remainder of the journey ahead of you.
6. Don't worry if you take a wrong turn. The road to success is almost never a straight line. There may be twists and turns, or detours, or you may wander off onto a different road entirely. That's absolutely okay; humans are not meant to be perfect. Accept your experiences as part of the journey, give yourself a little pep talk, and get back on the road again. As long as you keep going, you will get there eventually!
7. Celebrate your success! You should always have a way to reward yourself for your efforts. This could be any sort of healthy motivator, something you really want. Perhaps you could take the money from the cigarettes you are no longer buying, and use it to get something wonderful for yourself, or your children.
If you were wondering how well I did in 2009 - I did get my judgmental tendencies more under control, and I'm doing really well at seeing the less serious side of things (especially myself)! Right now I'm sitting overlooking the ocean in Carmel Valley, and my husband and I are just about to take our dog, Bella, for a walk. It's our way of rewarding ourselves for success in 2009!
About the Author:
Maryanne Comaroto is an internationally known relationship expert, talk show host and author. Maryanne is also the founder of a leading non-profit, The National Action Organization, a 501(c)3 organization committed to changing the way our culture values women. For more information visit http://www.maryannelive.com/. For more of Maryanne talking all things relationship: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY9eQD1lH4Y.