Set resolutions which are specific, manageable, plausible, and measurable. State them in the present tense.
Consider the difference between the statements, This year I’m going to get into shape, and I go to the gym for 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday , and Saturday mornings.
Break large resolutions down into small manageable steps.
For example, if your goal is to find a fulfilling career path, you might break it down like this:
- Within the next three months, I interview five professionals whose careers interest me.
- By Friday, I call the job coach my friend recommended.
- Today, I start a journal in which I explore what I found satisfying and unsatisfying about my previous work, and what my strengths and challenges are. I write in my journal for 15 minutes each day.
- I go on Craigslist each day to see what volunteer opportunities are out there.
State your resolutions in a positive tone.
Consider the difference between the statements, I give up sweets and I make healthy food choices.
Identify the rewarding feeling that will come with your achievement.
- I go to the gym for 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, and I feel energized and proud of myself.
- It’s stimulating and exciting to interview five professionals whose careers interest me.
- I make healthy food choices, and it feels good to nourish my body.
Anticipate the challenges.
Make a list of all the challenges that can potentially prevent you from successfully achieving your resolution. For each challenge, come up with a solution.
Challenge—It’s hard for me to get up in the morning, and I can never seem to get out the door early enough to get to the gym.
Solution—After dinner, I pack my gym bag and set up the coffee maker so that all I have to do is push a button to start it. I get to bed by 10 PM. I wake up at 6 AM feeling refreshed and organized, and there is plenty of time to get to the gym.
Use self-hypnosis to reinforce goals.