Things that go together – peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, bees and honey, and especially around January 1st; New Years and New Year’s resolutions.  Many people resolve to lose weight, get organized, spend more time with family, etc.  But sometime in mid-February they realize those resolutions have worked the way to the bottom of their to-do lists below “make dentist appointment” and “research summer vacation.”

Follow these tips for making resolutions you can stick to and reap the benefits of your accomplishments.

Focus on a Few — Wanting to be a better, happier, and healthier person is a noble goal.  However, when you try to accomplish too many things, in too many areas of your life it can be overwhelming.  You inevitably end up focusing on what you have not done, versus celebrating what you have completed.  Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love said, “I am my best person when I have less on my plate.”  Keep that in mind when you write-down your resolutions, and keep your list short.

Be Specific — Instead of “exercise more or get organized,” think “walk at least twice a week or clean out my desk drawer.”  The latter are much more concrete and don’t seem as daunting.

Make The Time — If your resolutions are truly a priority, then you need to make time for them.  Block time on your calendar to exercise or volunteer at a homeless shelter. Set a timer and organize your office papers or clean out your office supplies. If you don’t make the time, then whatever you need to do to get to your goal probably won’t happen.

Track Your Progress — Make resolutions that are easily measured and realistically attainable.  If you’re trying to network more in your profession, commit to contacting at least three to five people a week and setting up one or more face to face meetings.  Or, if you want to get organized, set aside 30 minutes a day to go through one pile on your desk or sort through one cabinet in your kitchen.

Spread the Word — Tell everyone you know about your resolution.  Your spouse, friends, and co-workers make great cheerleaders.  They provide support when you start to lose steam or suffer minor set backs.

Reward Yourself Along the Way — As you strive to achieve your larger goal, treat yourself when you hit mini-markers.  This will keep you motivated to keep going the distance and be successful in the end.