For many people, the beginning of a new year signifies a fresh start and an opportunity to make positive changes in their lives. Significantly altering our daily behavior is challenging, so it’s not surprising that a collective “clean slate” would motivate us to try again. New Year’s Resolutions can be helpful in getting the New Year off to a good start, but often they’re forgotten before Valentine’s Day and most of us have fallen back into our old habits.

Want this year to be different? Try this:

  • Set specific goals for 2012. What do you intend to accomplish this year? If you could make one or two significant changes if your life, what would they be? Clearly define your specific goals and make them measurable.
  • Identify your motivation.  Really think through how achieving those goals will change your life. What will be different about your daily activities when you’ve made the changes you’re striving for?
  • Determine what tasks are involved. For example, if one of your goals is to get a new job, listing weekly and monthly activities will keep you focused. “I will review and revise my resume at the beginning of every month and submit it to two new companies every week” is easy to measure against, where “I will be more active in my job search” is too vague.
  • Partner up! Sharing your goals and plans with a partner will keep you both accountable. Exchanging written plans is a powerful way to keep your goals and resolutions from being forgotten.
  • Schedule reviews throughout the year. With any long term goal, your initial plan will likely need to be adjusted as you progress. Meet with your partner at least quarterly to go over your written plan. Keep the meetings positive – if you’ve strayed from your plan a little (or a lot), this is the time to re-focus and start fresh.

Have you set resolutions in years past? What results have you seen? Do you have tips from your experience or questions about setting and achieving this year’s goals? Want to discuss your resolutions for 2012? Post in the comments, and let’s talk!