How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

Yet keeping resolutions is important. Why? Keeping your resolutions will give you the confidence and motivation you need to set—and reach—new goals throughout the year. The ten tips below are designed to help you create and keep your resolutions.

Tip #1: Limit the number of resolutions you make.

Sure, there are a million things you would like to accomplish, and you are excited about every single one of them. But making a huge list of goals will ensure you won’t have the time - or energy - to reach them. Prioritize your list, and then pick one or two resolutions to follow through on.

Tip #2: Be realistic.

If your goal is to find a job that makes you happier, don’t tell yourself you have to do it by January 30. Making resolutions that are impossible to keep will just set you up for failure, and will discourage you from reaching your goals.

Tip #3: Break your resolution down into smaller goals.

For example, if your goal is to get a promotion, break it down into steps like “increase knowledge and education,” “ask for more responsibility,” and “lead project successfully.” Breaking your resolution down into smaller actions will ensure you take the right steps to meet your bigger goal. You'll also feel encouraged when you reach these smaller goals.

TTip #4: Write down why you want to achieve your resolution.

The more compelling and detailed your reason is, the more likely you are to stick to it. How will keeping your resolution positively impact your life? How will not keeping your resolution negatively impact your life?

Tip #5: Write a resolution outline.

What things will you need to do, step-by-step, to achieve your goal? Write down the actions you will need to take on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Tip #6: Make a list of things you need in order to effectively reach your goals.

For example, if your goal is to change departments at work, you might need specific education in order to do that. If your goal is to lose weight, you might need to re-stock your pantry with healthier foods.

Tip #7: If you have more than one resolution, tackle one at a time.

Pick the most important goal, and accomplish that before you move on to the next one. Having too many balls in the air can be overwhelming, and you can end up dropping them all.

Tip #8: Be accountable by telling others about your resolutions.

It's one thing to have to keep promises to yourself, but it's quite another to have to keep promises to others. Telling others about your resolutions will increase the likelihood of you keeping them. 

Tip # 9: Get support from family, friends, and others who care about you.

Ask them to motivate and check in on you, and let them know what they can do to help you succeed. Find others who have similar goals, and develop a support group to keep each other motivated.

Tip #10: Celebrate your successes!

Give yourself a pat on the back at the end of every week you stick to your resolutions, or every time you accomplish a little goal on the way to your larger goal. Rewarding yourself regularly will contribute to the motivation you need to stay on track.

You don’t have to be one of those people with dozens of failed New Year’s resolutions. With the right tactics and strategy, you can meet your goals now and in the future. Good luck, and Happy New Year!

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