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How To Keep Your New Year Resolutions

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It's a new year and that means a chance to make a fresh start. New Year's is traditionally a time of resolution to change and teens are not immune to the trend. The most common resolutions are about health, fitness and relationships but regardless of what your resolutions are the steps toward achieving them are basically the same. Here are some tips, tricks and advice tailored for teens on how to keep new year's resolutions and make lasting positive changes in life. A quick and easy step-by-step how to guide.
Difficulty: N/A
Time Required: A lifetime.

Here's How:

  1. Make reasonable resolutions with achievable goals. Why set yourself up for failure? Don't ever bite off more than you can chew as this is just a recipe for failure. Choose one major goal or a bunch of small goals but never take on two or more major life-altering changes at once. Keep your focus clear. For example, a resolution to quit smoking is an excellent one to make but it is also notoriously difficult to achieve as it involves overcoming an addiction. If you take on a tough (but not impossible!) challenge don't stack the deck against yourself by taking on another major resolution at the same time.
  2. If you are making a resolution with a significant desired outcome break your ultimate goal down in to a series of smaller, more easily reached goals. This will accomplish two important things; 1) it will offer positive reinforcement as each mini-goal is reached and surpassed, 2) it will ensure that you do not give in too soon by setting the bar too high at first. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds break this goal down in to five mini-goals of 10 pounds each. You'll reach each mini-goal sooner than the final goal and each success will encourage you further.
  3. Set up a support system and/or enlist the help of a like-minded friend and get a resolution buddy. There really is strength in numbers! Every goal is easier to meet if you have other people in your corner supporting you in your efforts. That being said, avoid setting your resolutions by peer pressure, base them only on your specific needs and desires. For instance if you have two overweight friends who decide to diet together, if you're not overweight as well, do not join the diet-fest. Be part of their support system but don't join the pact, a healthy weight person should never take on a major weight-loss diet.
  4. Don't be discouraged by setbacks, be they big or small. Life is full of setbacks and letting them defeat you is always bad. Even major setbacks don't have to mean an end to your efforts. When you experience a setback just shake it off, forgive yourself for being human, and get back on track.
  5. Forgive yourself if you don't reach your goals as quickly as you may like. Some goals take much longer than a year to meet and this is OK. It is a good idea to resolve to maintain previous resolutions as well as taking on new ones. Many resolutions are not short term things but involve lifetime changes. Accept this and know that it is OK to make the same resolution year after year as long as you keep making progress.
  6. Continue on with last year's resolutions this year. Some things take much longer than a year to achieve and some resolutions require a lifetime of maintenance. It is reasonable and healthy to make maintaining previously met resolutions a part of every new New Year's resolutions.
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