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How to Set New Year’s Resolutions that Last

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, and despite the best intentions you just didn’t stick to it? As 2017 comes to a close, now is the perfect time to reflect on the previous year and pin-point the most important areas you’d like to improve in 2018. Studies show, the more meaningful the goal, the more likely you are to be intentional with your actions.

With multiple competing priorities during the work day, the holidays pose a unique opportunity for self-reflection, and to reconnect with your sense of purpose. Since change requires an assessment of the status quo, try these five questions to help you set impactful resolutions:

  1. What areas did I excel in 2017?
  2. If I could pick one word to sum up 2017 what would it be?
  3. On a scale of 1-10 how would I rate my work/life balance?
  4. What would I like to learn next year?
  5. What’s one habit I’d like to change?

Once you’ve reflected on the past year and have set your goals, here are three proven strategies to increase the likelihood of accomplishing them.

  1. Write It Down: Researchers at the Dominican University of California found that writing your goals increased the chances of accomplishing them by 42%. That’s a great ROI for the simple task of putting pen to paper, and helps guard against forgetting.
  2. Add a Reward: Remember the experiment with Pavlov’s dog? Stimulus and response? Studies show If you reward yourself with a small piece of chocolate (or your preferred treat) after a workout, the site of your gym shoes will evoke a desire for the reward, adding increased motivation to put them on and get active.
  3. Assemble a Team: Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith author of the bestselling book Triggers: Creating Behavior that Lasts—Becoming the Person you Want to Be pays someone to call him every morning to hold him accountable for his goals. A less extreme alternative, think of someone you admire who has a skill you would like to add to your tool-box. Do they have a work-out practice, are they a confident public speaker? Is their desk always organized? Tell them about your goals, and ask them to hold you accountable for taking small steps every week to achieve them.