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Start your New Year's resolutions early to help achieve your goals

Only about 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. We put so much pressure on ourselves, but don’t actually think about a plan of action. One of your best tools is to start early – think of your resolutions now and follow these simple tools to help you on the path to achieving your goals.


Do write it down

A study from Virginia Tech University found that people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times more over their lifetime than people who don’t. The lesson – writing down goals means you are more likely to achieve them. Write them down and don’t forget to read, review, and revaluate them regularly.

Do start early

Why wait until January 1st to start something you want to achieve? Now is the time, always. Plus, if you start now then New Year’s becomes the perfect time to reevaluate and see how you are progressing.

Do take it one step at a time

I'm all in favor of the big hairy audacious goal, but break it down into do-able, bite-sized parts. Want to run a marathon? Start with a regular walking schedule. Looking to transform eating patterns? Identify and then tackle them, one by one.

Do establish a reward system

The credit card companies already know this - we'll work harder for the chance to earn points. Design a program to win credits for prizes that are meaningful to you, upping the ante for every target level achieved. How about a pedicure when you've worked out a three weeks straight and a day at the spa when you've managed it for three months?

Do find an accountability partner

This person doesn't have to be a close friend, or even striving for the same exact goal. Simply pairing up with anyone with similar objectives will provide key social support, as well as spur a little healthy competition.


Do not just take away the bad

You're seeking change for positive reasons; reinforce that direction by adopting similarly themed actions. For example, instead of going cold turkey cutting out soda, add drinking 8 glasses of water a day first. Feeling more hydrated will make you feel better - and likely help you kick the cola habit.

Do not expect everything to be perfect

No one's perfect; progress towards a goal is rarely a straight line. Don't let one misstep cause you to drop everything and derail all that you've achieved.

Do not stop celebrating

Recognize that every decision you make towards your goal is worthy of a pat on the back.

Do not forget to track your progress

Writing down daily activities related to your goal will measure your progress, including when key milestones are reached. Write down a schedule and track all of your progress.

Jumping cartoon

Resolutions are suppose to help us achieve something and better ourselves – not to make us feel like a failure. Choose goals that are thought out and researched and constantly check yourself and your progress. With some simple tools, anyone can achieve their goals.

More expert advice about Self-Guided Improvement

Photo Credits: Not 365:60 - New Years resolutions by Flickr: Hilde Skjølberg; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

Kelly WalshOwner

Kelly Walsh, M.Ed, ACC is the president of 1 Smart Life. Over the past 18 years, Kelly has successfully coached business leaders and people from all walks of life to reach their highest potential. With a Master’s in counseling, professional coac...

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