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Tired of making those pesky New Year’s Resolutions, and then not achieving them? No worries, this year it’s gonna be different!

Here are five sure-fire steps to setting and achieving your life-changing goals.

1. Be sure about what you hope to achieve.

You may have heard the well-known quip, “Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.” It’s not unusual for people to get what they thought they wanted, only to discover, it’s not nearly as great as what they had imagined.

Before choosing a specific goal, close your eyes and envision yourself having achieved it: What will your life look like at that point? What are the pros and cons of your success? Use this information or perception to adjust your goal, as needed.

2. Be clear in stating your goals.

The best practice is to put your goal in writing. Do not begin with “I want to…,” and do not make short, list-style statements, such as “lose weight.” Instead, use positive, definitive language, such as “I will lose weight.”

Note, however, that even this statement is not enough. You need to be as specific as possible. “I will lose 20 pounds” is an improvement, but “I will lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks” is even better. Make a clear statement of intent, including as many details in that one sentence as possible.

3. Make a detailed plan that includes actionable steps to take.

The more detailed this plan can be, the better. Avoid statements like “eat less” or “exercise more.” Again, be specific. Try “I will consume 1,200 calories per day” and “I will exercise five hours each week, to include one hour each of walking, biking, aerobics class, strength training, and yoga.” Make schedules and mini-goals within your plan.

4. Remind yourself of your goal each day.

After you have written out your goal and your plan, make several copies of the document. Carry one in your purse or wallet. Put a copy on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Think about all the places where reminding yourself of the goal will be beneficial in reaching the goal.

5. Celebrate the milestones.

Each time you reach a mini-goal or milestone in your plan, celebrate! To stay motivated, determine what your rewards will be for each mini-goal or milestone reached. Just make sure the reward does not interfere with your progress…

For example, if the goal is to lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks, you may want to avoid celebrating by going out for ice cream. If the goal is to save a certain amount of money, avoid any rewards that cost money, which will move you away from your goal.

Before you begin, remember, it’s important to have a true, deep desire to reap the rewards of reaching your goal…

For example, if your goal is to stop smoking cigarettes, but in your heart of hearts, you really do not want to quit, the odds are against you from the start. Even if you do reach the goal, success will be temporary at best. If you truly want the rewards associated with kicking the habit – such as more money in your pocket and air in your lungs – your motivation will no doubt override your desire to continue the bad habit, and you will succeed!

So good luck with setting and achieving your goals, and Happy New Year!


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