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How To Stick With Your New Years Resolutions All Year Long

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This time last year, my New Year's resolution included trimming down for my upcoming wedding day the following fall. I wanted to work out several times a week in order to tone up and lose those last couple of holiday pounds and to fit into my altered wedding gown. I was super busy during the month of January with work and wedding preparations, but I found the time every couple of days to go to the gym and get my workout in. I also prepared my weekly meals over the weekend, so that I didn't splurge because I was tired or rushed on weekday evenings. This helped me stay on track, but there are several other ways that you can keep your resolutions.

Desirable and Achievable Goals

When your end result is something that you really care about, you'll be more likely to stick to your goals. If your outcome is desirable, you'll want to work hard towards it. If your goals are almost impossible to achieve, you are less likely to be able to stick to them, especially when the normal busyness of life kicks in and you are stretched to the max. If there's one thing that will have to give, it will probably be the thing that is the most difficult-your unachievable goal. Make your resolution an achievable and realistic goal, so that you are more likely to stick to it and get it accomplished.

Specific Goals

If you are seeking to lose some weight, don't make your resolution to "lose some weight." Be specific in your goals. Tell yourself that you want to lose "X" amount of weight by July 1, then "X" more by December 31. This way you can break it up by months and weeks, and work towards your goal in smaller portions.

Make a Plan

In order to accomplish your goals and stick to your plan, you have to first make a plan. Make a plan that will be easy for you to work through. If your goal is to save "X" amount of money this year and put it in savings, then you know you have to put that money away each week/month. Make a plan to save on your "extras", such as coffee, or to put a portion of your paycheck away each week. A specific plan will help you accomplish your goal. Be sure to stick to your plan by using a resolution-related app on your smart phone or tablet.

Stay Accountable

When you share your goals with friends or family, you may be more likely to be reminded or asked about your accomplishments. If someone else knows what you are trying to achieve, they will help keep you accountable. Maybe you have a friend that will go with you to the gym or maybe your spouse will help you to plan healthier meals. Accountability will help you with your goals.

Reward Yourself

If you accomplished your first smaller goal towards your bigger goal, be sure to reward yourself. You are more likely to want to keep working harder if you know you will be rewarded along the way. If you are putting money away to save and you are halfway to your goal, reward yourself with that forbidden coffee or maybe even a new pair of shoes. If your goals are weight related, give yourself a cheat day at the end of a successful month.

Keep Track of Your Progress

You don't want to have any surprises at the end of your journey, so be sure to keep track of your progress. If you are trying to lose weight, try weighing yourself at the end of every week or twice during the month. You'll be able to see your accomplishments instead of always guessing and not knowing how you're doing. You'll also be able to tell how far you have to go to accomplish your goal. If it helps, keep a journal so that you can take a look back at your emotions and thoughts throughout your journey towards your goal.

Setbacks are Okay

If you have a setback, it's okay. Don't beat yourself up or give up because you messed up one time. Get back on track and keep working towards your goal. Last time you checked, were you perfect? Probably not -- everyone messes up every now and then. If your goal is to only drink on the weekends and you had a glass of wine at the fancy Italian restaurant on a Wednesday, don't worry about it. Just forgo any alcohol until the weekend and next week you'll be back on track.

Keep It Up

You may feel like it's getting mundane or boring after a while, but stay with it and when you achieve your goal, you'll have feelings of accomplishments and you'll be so proud of making your person goal. It'll get hard once January is over and you're moving into February. But once you've done something for at least 21 days, it becomes a habit. So stick with it and keep pressing on--you'll be better for it.

Be an Inspiration

You thought that this goal was simply for yourself, but along the way, you may be inspiring someone and not even know it. When your co-workers and friends see your accomplishment, they may be inspired to get on the bandwagon as well. It may feel good to get fit and toned, but sometimes it feels just as good to make others want to better themselves, too.

Photo via Flickr (pictoquotes)