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How to Set and Keep a New Year's Resolution

Without question, January is my busiest time of the year for coaching. Why? For most, January not only means a new year, but it also means an opportunity for another fresh start. I specialize in fresh starts, both as a life coach (helping my clients to realize and take advantage of those fresh starts), and as a motivated individual in need of my own fresh starts.

Do you set New Year's resolutions (goals)? Do you do it every year? I think that if you're reading this article than it's a safe assumption that you do. Take a look back at the resolutions / goals that you have set over the past three or four years. How many of those goals were achieved? Now, here's the big question. How many years have you set the exact same goal because it wasn't accomplished the year before? (Lose weight, get out of debt, organize the house, etc.) You might be surprised to know that the act of setting the same goals year after year is very common. Why? Because these goals / resolutions are important enough for you to want to make the change, but typically the plan / roadmap and commitment to accomplishing these goals isn't effective enough to see them through.

So, what do you need to do differently this year to make sure that this is the last year that you have to set the same goal? Here's the approach that I use with my clients. I encourage you to give it a try and see if it works for you.

Step 1: Set ONE important goal / resolution at a time

One of the most common goal-achieving pitfalls that we fall into is to try and set too many important goals or life changing resolutions at once. This is particularly common at the New Year. The failure is usually caused when just one of the goals / resolutions isn't achieved or kept and the rest are scrapped along with it.

My suggestion is to pick the one goal that would have the greatest impact on improving your life and going full-steam to reach that goal. Once that goal is realized, or well on its way to success, the next goal or resolution can be set. Remember, one of the great things about goal setting is that you can do it at any time!

Step 2: Create a reasonable, but very specific plan

Once you've set the right goal it is essential that you follow it up with creating a detailed plan to reach your goal. To demonstrate the importance of this step, think about the last time that you planned a vacation to a destination that you've never been to before. The goal, or in this case your vacation destination, will do you no good unless you know the route to get there. As part of your vacation planning process, it's critical that you take the time to find the directions and determine your best route to that destination. Consider the consequences of not planning your route - you're likely to get lost along the way and never reach your final destination. In this case, your goal is your destination and your route is your plan for success.

Take some time to determine HOW you are going to reach your goal. What is your plan? What do you need to do? What are the action steps that you will have to take? List out your plan step-by-step, day-by-day if necessary. This will not only provide you with a course to follow, but it will also serve as a benchmark to help you determine whether or not you are on course.

Tip: Assign specific target dates to reach specific benchmarks.

Step 3: Get a partner

This step is equally important as the first two steps, especially if you've fallen short of reaching your goal in the past. By enlisting a goal-reaching partner, you not only have someone who can help to hold you accountable, but you also have somebody who can help keep you on track, encourage and support you, and also somebody to celebrate your success with when your goal has been reached. An accountability partner can come in the form of a spouse, a friend, a person who is already successful in the goal that you are trying to achieve, or my personal favorite, a life coach.

Tip: Offer your partner the same accountability and support that they are offering you. It's likely that they also have a goal or resolution that they are trying to achieve. Team up and work together for the win!

Step 4: Take action!

Plain and simple, none of the above steps will matter if you are not willing to take action on your goal. You have already outlined the winning roadmap in Step 2. Now is the time to follow that road map and keep yourself on track. Taking constant and directed action will not only ensure that you are making progress in reaching your goal, but it will also build momentum and cause you to reach your goal more quickly.

Action breeds results and results breed more action!

Step 5: Don't give up

If you've set a goal, devised a plan, and began taking action, you've already completed the hardest parts. Now it's time to finish it off. Do not let yourself quit! Continue to reinforce your commitment to yourself to not stop until you've reached the finish line. If you should happen to wander off track along the way, find a way to get yourself back on track. The best way to do this is to consider the reasons for setting this goal / resolution in the first place. You've already identified this as one of the most important changes that you can make in your life. I encourage you to really think about the positive impact that the realization of this goal will have on your life. Continuously remind yourself that the persistence and effort will pay off.

Once you've followed these steps and accomplished your goal, you can move on to your next most important goal, and then the next one, and then the next one... Remember, action breeds results and results breed more action. If you take it one step at a time and keep yourself focused through each step of the process, you'll be moving your own mountains in no time!

If you feel like you need an extra dose of support and would like to partner with a professional life coach to increase your chances of success, I would be more than happy to help. I have seen the benefits of working with a coach firsthand in my own life (working with my own coach) as well as the benefits and successes that my clients have experienced in their own lives. I always offer new clients a free (no obligation) coaching session with the purpose of demonstrating and explaining the coaching process, as well as making sure that we are a good fit. If you are interested in signing up for a free session and if you're ready to get your New Year started on the right foot, please email me directly at Brian@ and we'll get you started.

Wishing you the happiest and most successful year yet-

Brian Osher

GAIN Life Coaching

President / Founder