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How to Accomplish your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the start of a new year, and doubtlessly 2015 will bring good times, hardships, technological advancements, and all of the other things that made 2014 so interesting, and many people have made themselves a promise to make 2015 their best year yet. Maybe you want to drive safer and get a better auto insurance rate, or maybe you just want to sign up and avoid that nasty fee for not having health insurance. Maybe you just want to eat better or make a few new friends. Maybe 2015 is the year you’ll finally learn to play the accordion.

Commonly referred to as “resolutions”, these New Year’s goals have become associated with failed diets and, for the most part, little to no actual accomplishment, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a positive change in your life in 2015. The secret is all in how you work towards your goals and how you think of resolutions. A resolution feels like a promise to yourself that can easily be broken, but in 2015, switching to a more goal-oriented mindset may just be the first step on the path to success.

Goals drive you forward and keep you focused, unlike resolutions that seem easy to abandon. You can set goals for anything from your personal life to work to hobbies and more, and if you can keep these five principles in mind, you’ll be well on your way to establishing and meeting your goals in 2015.

1. Don’t set too many goals!
Realistically consider how much time and effort each of your goals will require, and pay attention to which goals may overlap with each other. Giving yourself overly daunting goals is a surefire way to fail, but don’t sell yourself short. Carefully consider what you can get done this year, set your goals, and start making some progress!

2. Step out of your “comfort zone”.
It’s easy to play it safe and set goals that are easily attainable or very familiar to you, but the goals that matter the most are the ones that help you grow the most, so in 2015, step out of your comfort zone and learn something entirely new. Start doing something artistic or athletic! Start a small business, take a new class, or visit a new country! It’s up to you, and the sky is the limit, but again, don’t sell yourself short. There’s a whole world of opportunities out there, and a lot of them are going to thrust you into new and unfamiliar territory, so embrace that and accomplish more!

3. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Remember to be S.M.A.R.T. when you’re setting your goals, and make sure they’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. Those five descriptors are a great way to make sure you can create ambitious goals without becoming overwhelmed.

4. Don’t forget your goals!
It’s easy to set a goal at the start of the new year and forget about it, but if you’re serious about actually completing your goals, writing them down and setting up reminders is a great way to make sure you’re always making progress. If you have a smartphone, you can set weekly, monthly, or even daily alerts to remind you to work towards your goals, and even writing them down and putting them on the fridge increases your chances of success substantially. Remember, if your goals are out of sight, they may fall out of mind, so keep an eye on them – literally.

5. Don’t burn yourself out.
If you become completely goal-driven at the start of the year, you’re likely to become exhausted or just abandon your goals altogether. Instead of fully devoting yourself immediately, find a reasonable and sustainable pace at which you can accomplish your goals. It’s a good idea to schedule things out as well, but most importantly, don’t abandon the things you love to accomplish your goals! With preparation, there’s enough time to do it all, so don’t burn yourself out too quickly. Pace yourself!

What are your goals for 2015? Have you already started working on them? What’s your plan to accomplish each of your goals? Share your ideas with us in the comments section and help other readers reach success!