Let’s face it. Making and keeping New Year’s Resolutions is nearly impossible for most of us. We start the year out right with all the best intentions and the vast majority of us rarely make it past the first month. For others even making it three or four months puts you in a very small minority.

Like you, I make a few every year and probably like you, I look back and ask myself, “Why didn’t I keep those?” In my own personal experience the number one reason for failure is habit. We revert back to the bad habits that caused the need for the resolution in the first place. Here are the Top Ten most common resolutions and some tips for keeping them.

  • Losing Weight: The real secret to losing weight is to physically write down every single food you eat during the day. If you have to write it down you are less likely to eat it. Keep a daily food log and review it weekly.
  • Eat Healthy: We all want to do this one. Eat something healthy before you go shopping. You are more likely to resist junk food or processed foods if you not hungry. Make a list of healthy choices and stick to it.
  • Exercise: I hate to exercise but I always feel better after I do it. So my secret is do it early in the morning and get it out of the way. Then I don’t feel guilty for the rest of the day. If someone asks, “Did you exercise?” I can answer honestly.
  • Stick to a Budget: This is a tough one too. Handling money is never easy. Grocery tips can turn out to be more than expected. Take cash and a calculator anywhere you are going to make a purchase. Credit or debit or checks make it too easy to go over your budget. Use cash whenever possible.
  • Saving Money: We all want to do this one but you have to be disciplined. Try this — save whatever the number of the week it is during the year. For example: If it’s the tenth week of the year than save $10 that week. Week twenty-five save $25 dollars. Week 52 save $52 dollars. At the end of the year you will have saved over $1,300. Put it somewhere hard to get to.
  • Get Organized: My wife has the organization gift and keeps us organized. She makes lists. We always have a list on the fridge of things that need to be done and the deadlines to accomplish them.
  • Patience: We all lose our patience with store clerks, politicians, and government agencies. Before you go confront all, or any of these, be prepared that things may not go your way. Take deep breaths and try to remember what upset you on that date a year ago and I’ll bet you can’t remember.
  • The Job Hunt: Get on LinkedIn and start connecting with people you know and that will lead you to those you don’t. Your resume should show more than just where you worked and what you did there. It should have examples of how you made the company better. How you exceeded goals, increased productivity and what you will bring to your new employer that’s valuable.
  • Be a Better Person: Try to live the golden rule. Think before you speak. No one will remember what you did, or what you said; they will only remember how you made them feel.

Some Final Thoughts

New Year’s Resolutions are really reflections of how we see ourselves in our minds eye. After all no one gets to see us as we see us. Whatever we do or don’t do speaks volumes about our personal desires. If we give up we often see ourselves as failures. If we succeed we often fear that we can’t maintain that level of success.

Change is not easy. Developing new habits is not easy. Treading water and staying where you are in life is easy. But the days go by and nothing changes and even worse, nothing improves. Make a plan this year and stick to it. If you stray off the path, get right back on it. Find the resolve to create your own personal resolutions. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

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