Did you make any New Year resolutions last year? If you did, how did you go with them? Did you achieve them all, some of them, partly some of them or did they mostly fall by the wayside?

The start of a new year is often the time when we are fired up with enthusiasm to make changes in our lives, but after a few weeks of getting back into our usual routine, we maybe just slip back into the same old ways.

Why is this? Perhaps we had too many resolutions (goals) and it was overwhelming. Or perhaps the goals were unrealistic or too complicated to achieve in a year’s time.

It’s so easy to come up with reasons (excuses) why we let our enthusiasm slip; I’m sure these will sound familiar:

I don’t have time / I’m too busy
I don’t have enough money
It’s not my fault – (someone else) stopped me from doing it
It was too hard / harder than I expected
I’ll do it later
I don’t know how
It’s just not “the right time”

BUT – it doesn’t have to be like that. If we really want to make change, there are some proven ways to go about it.

Instead of having a lot of new year’s resolutions, pick just one, or perhaps two, but it is better to work on one at a time. Think about what you want to achieve; see it in your mind, imagine that you have already reached this goal.

SMART is an acronym for goal-setting to make it easy to remember.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

For example, if you want to earn more money so you can give up your day job, start with “earn $50 more every week by 31st March 2009″ or if you want to lose weight, have a goal to “lose 5kg or pounds by the end of January”.

Both of these goals would pass the SMART test.

The more specific you are about anything you want to achieve, the easier it will be to keep on track and be able to measure how you’re going with it.

Naturally a goal must be something it is possible for you to achieve, but you also need to be realistic about how long it will take to achieve. If you want something that doesn’t seem realistic, break the goal down into smaller manageable chunks and work on one at a time. When that is completed, start on the next chunk.

Small steps + consistency  =  success

If you don’t achieve your objective in the set time, don’t just slip back to the excuses, just take a realistic look at what happened, and set a new milestone date.

Demonstrated ways to help you as you go along:

  • Write your goals down and look at them every day, several times is better
  • Use a notebook, a small card to carry round or tape them to a wall or mirror
  • Read out aloud – this helps to fix them in your subconscious mind
  • Tell someone else – having someone ask you how it’s going will keep you trying
  • Believe that you deserve to achieve this goal
  • Respect yourself enough to keep your commitments
  • Act as if you have already achieved your goal, imagine it in your mind, feel how it will feel. Put as much emotion into your visualisations as you can – you might be surprised how much this can help.

So as you start the new year, set SMART goals and use the hints above to help you achieve them. Make 2009 will be the best year ever!

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