A Life Coach’s Guide to Making (and Keeping) New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve never been great at keeping New Year’s resolutions—maybe you can relate? Whether it’s promising to exercise more often or to make home-cooked dinners, come the second week of January I’m back on the couch, watching a movie and searching for takeout on Seamless.

But 2014 will be different (really!). I’ve called in an expert, life coach Robin, who helps people set and accomplish goals for a living. DeMarco is here to help me (and you!) realize that setting and keeping resolutions doesn’t have the be a hopeless pursuit. Her secret? Setting small attainable goals, and making yourself accountable for them, whether by writing them down or saying them to people who will check up on you. Here, DeMarco shares the steps you’ll need to set —and keep!—your New Year’s resolutions.

STEP 1: Think Small

“The fewer things your brain has to deal with, the better,” says DeMarco. That means whittling down that list of 10 resolutions to one or two you really want to conquer.

STEP 2: Be Specific

Two of the most popular resolutions involve weight loss and money management, says DeMarco. Since both two topics are huge and vague, focus on a concrete goal. For example, instead of “I’m going to get into shape.” Say: “I’m going to commit to a 30-minute workout, four times a week.” Once you know what the goal is worth for you, DeMarco says, you visualize the rewards. Good to know: Resolutions to do new things instead of breaking old habits have a higher success rate.

STEP 3: Break it Down

Once you have your resolution specified, the next step is to break it into actionable sets; otherwise, you may give up. “Often people will quit their resolution because the original goal was too lofty and they cannot gauge positive progression.” Avoid this by writing out the sub-steps you’ll need to take to accomplish you goal. Next, tell someone: “A great way to hold yourself accountable and keep on track is sharing your goals with friends or family.”

STEP 4: Be Realistic

With smaller, more realistic goals, you’re likely to succeed. As you achieve your sub-goals, you’ll gain the motivation for continued success, says DeMarco:.“Sense of achievement will give you the confidence needed to succeed with future goals and resolutions.”

STEP 5: It’s OK to Fail

So you’ve completed all of DeMarco’s steps but you’ve started to fall off track. What now? “First, you need to have self-compassion,” says DeMarco. “From a psychological sense, the more we beat ourselves up and feel guilty about something the further you get from your goals.” Give yourself a break, and get back on the horse. If going easy on yourself is hard for you, try DeMarco’s trick: “What would you say to a loved one who had a setback in reaching their goals? Now… say it to yourself!”

I think I can, I think I can!

Want to learn more Robin DeMarco and life coaching? Visit CoachedbyRobin.com!

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