It's that time of year again. Many of us will be making New Year's resolutions. But, how likely will you be to stick to yours? If you want to really give it the old college try, there are some steps you can follow to ensure success.


"First, you want to start small. Sometimes people get way too ambitious and really try to change their lives which isn't likely to happen," said Dr. Steven Tobias, director of the Center for Child and Family Development in Morristown.

According to Tobias, you should set small, attainable goals to start.

"If it is going to happen, it will happen one step at a time," Tobias said. "If you want to lose weight, target five pounds. If you want to improve your relationships, target little things you can be doing to improve your relationships. Success breeds success and unfortunately, failure breeds failure. If you start too ambitious and you don't achieve your goals, it's just going to discourage you. If you set a small goal and achieve it, then take it to the next step and set another goal."

The next step Tobias suggests is having a detailed plan for carrying out your goals.

"You should really be specific about what you want to accomplish. Think about who, what, where, when and how? The who is very important because we respond well to support from others. So, if you want to start working out, find out if there is someone you can work out with," Tobias said. "It's easier if you have someone to work on your goals with you."

A good way to keep yourself on track is to put your goals on the calendar.

"The when is very important. People rarely miss a doctor's appointment because it's on the calendar and they know it's there. It's very concrete. If you're going to exercise or spend more time with other people, if it's on the calendar, it's more likely to get done,"  Tobias.

Letting friends and family know about your plan can also help keep you accountable as you work through your plan, according to Tobias.

"The more people you tell," he said, "the more likely you will be to hold yourself accountable and get it done."


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