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It’s the end of 2014 and 2015 begins tonight at midnight. A New Year brings new hope for the year to come. We all want to make changes in our lives that we see as steps to a better life. Most times we refer to them as goals but on New Years Day we call them resolutions. We have all the best intention in the world come January 1, but for most, by March 1, we have already forgotten about them. I think this has nothing to do with concept of New Year’s Resolutions but rather in the goals we set. So here are some tips when making resolutions for 2015 that will help make keeping the resolutions more successful.

A resolution comes from the Latin word resolutionem, a word that means to reduce to smaller, and simpler forms. Small and simple could not be farther from what we create as new years resolutions. We make goals like losing weight, making more money, or to exercise daily. These are huge and immeasurable goals that can never be achieved. For example, when we talk about losing weight just how much weight is enough to claim success a pound, 50 pounds, 100 pounds? The specificity of success is not there so the goal is not real. So after a few months without success a person will usually give up. We need to know success as a reward or we tune out.

Tip 1: Set an umbrella goal with smaller measurable interim goals to guide the process

Find out what is the real reason you want to achieve the desired resolution. The goal you may be setting might not be the right goal to achieve that core desire or not the only thing that must be done to achieve it. So to make better resolutions we must consider a few things. First, what is it we really want to accomplish with the goals we set. For example, for losing weight, what is the reason you might want to lose weight? Is it because you want to feel better about your body and be healthier, or to be more attractive to a potential sexual partner. All are valid reasons with different core issues. To make one feel better about themselves perhaps weight loss is only part of the solution and counseling may be an important piece to achieve this goal to improve self-esteem.

Tip 2 : Make the goals measurable

A goal is only as good as the means to measure its success. A goal needs to be specific on what is successful achievement of the goal. For example, instead of losing weight perhaps say I want to lose 10 pounds. Losing weight in general terms has no bar of success whereas setting the bar in losing 10 pounds is losing 10 pounds. We can then measure our weight and see real progress. We can stay dedicated to achievement if we see progress and, once we are almost at the goal, we can see the finish line and sprint to it.

Tip 3: Make small achievable goals

Often we make goals with zero practicality such as I want to loose 100 pounds in a year. Losing that kind of weight may be possible but the probability of success is low. We may need to lose that kind of weight but what is easier to achieve is a goal of loosing 10 pounds and make that same goal ten times. I say achieving the loss of 10 pounds 10 times is easier because if we focus on losing only 10 pounds we can see real week to week progress. Losing 1 pound out of ten seems much more attainable than 1 out of 100. So we can take bites rather shoving the whole thing in your mouth all at once.

Tip 4: Tackle the only the ripest fruit

In Tantra philosophy this an important concept. When we tackle the behaviors we are most ready to give up, we are going to find it easier to channel our energy elsewhere. This improves the likelihood of success. We may not be ready to quit smoking or stop drinking soda. We may not be in a place to lose weight. We may want all of those things but wanting those things and being ready to tackle them are separate concepts. As time goes by, all fruit ripens and with success a person maybe stronger and more apt to complete a tough goal that they are not prepared for now.

Tip 5: Set only 3-5 goals at a time

With each goal we make we must commit to work to achieve them. We can get overwhelmed by the number of goals we set. If we set too many goals it can be anxiety inducing since it spreads our minds thin trying to work on everything at once. Besides, if you complete those goals you can create new ones to keep moving forward. Just think how often we make entries in our To Do list!

David Fishman