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I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. Making a decision to change just because the calendar says Jan. 1 isn’t enough to keep you motivated for long.
Instead, think of a desire or a frustration. Maybe your staff meetings have become a big waste of time. Or you want to make it out the door with a decent breakfast in your belly. Perhaps you want to spend more “alone time” with each of your kids.
For each goal, follow this three-step plan to create a reasonable resolution:
Use an actionable phrase. Instead of saying, “This year I am going to relax,” say, “I will schedule one activity each month that I find relaxing.”
Create a plan of attack. Brainstorm what needs to happen to achieve your goal and list the steps.
Schedule it. Attach dates and load them into your calendar. If you wish to start an exercise program, where will you exercise and when?
When the designated day and time arrive, be disciplined in following your plan. If you can do just a little bit to get going, soon you’ll feel the positive effects of the change—and that can lead to habits that last far beyond New Year’s Day.
Laura Stack is an productivity expert and author of her latest book, What to Do When There's Too Much to Do.