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How to Make New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep


The start of a new year is a great time to resolve to make improvements in our lives. Unfortunately, many of those resolutions don’t last long. By February, gym memberships are already lapsing, people have started smoking again and stricter budgets have fallen by the wayside.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You really can make New Year’s resolutions that you’ll actually keep. You just have to go about it the right way. Follow these tips to increase your success:

1. Make realistic resolutions.
Sure, you want the perfect life, but perfection isn’t attainable. Make sure your resolutions are realistic. This also means they need to be in your control. Resolving to get a better job, for example, sounds nice, but it’s not really up to you. A better resolution would be to apply for better jobs.

2. Make specific resolutions.
Let’s say you want to get your personal finances into shape. Instead of resolving to be more financially responsible – a nebulous goal that’s easy to ignore – resolve to put an extra hundred dollars into savings each month. If your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, you could resolve to take public transportation once a week or to go meatless twice a week.

3. Give yourself reminders.
At the beginning of the year, your resolution is fresh on your mind, but what about a few months down the line? There’s a good chance you’ll get busy with life and think about your new goals less and less often. Set up reminders ahead of time to prevent that from happening.

Go through your 2018 calendar and write reminders throughout the year. Use your smartphone to set up electronic reminders. Also consider joining a group related to your resolution and talking to your friends about your goals. This way, other people can give you support and remind you to keep trying.

4. Be forgiving.
No one’s perfect. It’s OK if you have the occasional lapse. Forgive yourself and determine to do better the next day. This is the healthiest response, and it’s also the one that will help you succeed in the long run. The worst thing you can do is succumb to self-loathing and decide to give up on your goals completely.

5. Be rewarding.
Big changes come in small steps. When you achieve one of those steps, go ahead and reward yourself. You deserve it. Even more importantly, the reward will motivate you to succeed.

Still trying to decide on your New Year’s resolution? Resolve to be a responsible homeowner or renter by maintaining the right insurance. Review your homeowners or renters policy, and be sure to update it with any new high-value items you received over the holidays.