smart spending

9 ways to keep your New Year's resolutions

6. Be prepared to change some habits. One reason that resolutions fail is people don't change the habits that sabotage them, says Rosalene Glickman, author of "Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self."

One potent approach is to realize that all you ever have is the present moment. So ask what you can do now that will get you closer to your goal, says Glickman.

It could mean trade-offs such as sacrificing an hour of couch time for your new goals. "That's how you get resolutions implemented," says O'Connor.

Another good strategy is to arrange your life so you don't have to wrestle with temptation, he says.

7. Write down the goal and visualize it regularly. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a goal because they fix it firmly in the subconscious, says Stephen Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

And if you write down your goals, put them in a prominent place where you'll view them frequently, such as on the fridge or on your desk. Glickman keeps her important life goals and priorities on her computer's screen saver. That way, "I have to see them," she says.

8. To tell or not to tell? Having someone hold you accountable can be a powerful tool. "In general, making a public commitment adds motivation," O'Connor says.

Skip the naysayers, but if you have one or two people in your life who will act as cheerleaders or coaches, share the goal with them, says Wilson.

9. Forgive yourself. If you fall off the wagon, jump back on. Many people fall into the trap of believing that if they stumble, they should give up, says O'Connor.

The truth is you don't have to wait for next year or for some magic moment. Instead, realize that "slipping is part of the process," O'Connor says. Then, get back to your goals.


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