BET.com - Lifestyle: New Year, New Way

Published January 4, 2008

Posted Jan. 4, 2007 -- Have you vowed to make this year the year to do things differently, be a better person or learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to quit smoking, or insist on practicing a greener lifestyle? Whether you strive to reach five goals or 10, we’ve all been here before and it’s no secret that New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep.

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So, let’s make it easier on us. Here are five tips for not breaking your New Year’s resolutions and goals in 2008.

1. Identify How and Why – If you want to lose weight, your goal should state how much weight you want to lose and when you want to lose it by. If you wish to spend more time with family and friends, schedule bi-weekly or monthly plans with loved ones for an evening of camaraderie at a favorite restaurant or invite your crew to your spot for a potluck dinner. Basically, no more vague resolutions! Figure out what, and most importantly how.

Next, recognize the ‘why’ behind the goal. The ‘why’ will help connect you to the bigger picture. For example, you want to get out of debt to gain a sense of security.

2. Avoid a Long List – Set only one or two realistic goals to meet. Ask yourself, ‘What one thing could I change that would significantly increase my happiness?’ If you’re aiming to learn a new language, travel more, get out of debt, quadruple your savings and drop three clothing sizes, you’re not being fair to yourself. Make attainable benchmarks – save $200 every two weeks or lose 3 lbs. by January 31 – that way you can keep track of your progress week by week.

3. Go Public – Tell everyone and their mamma about your goal. When friends, family and co-workers are all in your business and know what you are working toward, they will be less likely to tempt you and more likely to ask about your progress and encourage you. It also motivates you to remain committed to your goal.

4. Reward Yourself – Stay strong by treating yourself to something nice for making incremental steps toward your goal. Achieving your goal is rewarding in and of itself, but why wait until you are at the end result to celebrate? Reached your benchmark for the week? Enjoy a pedicure with friends.

5. Recommit. Recommit. Recommit. – If you slip up, don’t get discouraged. Try, try and try again. Everyone has bad days. Just forgive yourself, recommit to your goal and keep it moving. Stay motivated to see the end result.

Now, buy a planner; write down your goals (remember stick with one or two and identify the how and why); place it where you will see it; review them often - daily, weekly, monthly - and the baby steps you are making towards them. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Written by BET-Staff

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