Making the most of your New Year’s resolutions

By Jen Denys, B.A., CHRP, CPC
The Right Path Consulting Group

The beginning of a new year presents a whole spectrum of possibilities. It has become customary to make promises to ourselves as we turn the pages of a new calendar. More often than not, New Year’s resolutions become desires that we never really fulfill rather than the beginning of a new chapter in life. Why is that? It certainly isn’t because our goals lack merit. Common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, quitting smoking, spending more time with family, exercising more, finding a life partner and saving for a vacation. So, how can we make the most out of our resolutions?

As a coach, it is my job to support my clients in successfully reaching their goals. It is my pleasure to offer the following 10 professional tips to help you succeed with your new year’s resolutions:
1. Assess your values. This thing you want to do or not do, why is it important to you? How does it fit into your life?
2. Cast a vision. What will it feel like to be successful? What would it look like? How will you know if you have reached your destination? Can you measure it?
3. Beware of the “should.” When we say we should do something motivation comes from outside of ourselves, which is less powerful. Ask yourself who are you doing this for? Your best chance for success is to take action for yourself.
4. Utilize positive affirmations. Some of you might be skeptical about this one – honestly, I used to be as well. However, there is a lot of power when you can wake up each day and begin by mentally or verbally affirming your beliefs about who you are, what you expect of yourself and what you believe about the universe.
5. Set small goals. Have you ever watched an ant farm? Each small ant will carry one grain of sand, not concerned with what his brothers are doing. Within a short amount of time the colony as a team has created a sophisticated labyrinth of tunnels. The individual ants are not affected by the enormity of their overall goal; their only concern is taking the grain of sand from one end of the farm to the other. What is that saying about a long journey starting with a single step?
6. Assemble your support team. Women are generally more likely to do this, but it is just as important for men. Decide who you can go to for support, encouragement and positive reinforcement when needed. These people could be friends, family or a coach. Select these people with care as you will likely lean on them during times when your motivation is low.
7. Celebrate milestones. Most resolutions seem like insurmountable barriers; otherwise we would have taken care of them far before January 1st. While you are breaking down your resolution into small goals, strategically plan celebration activities every step of the way. Celebration activities can be as big as a tropical holiday or as small as curling up with a good book in a tub of bubbles.
8. Acquire the resources you need. I am not suggesting that you need to go out and purchase a full home gym during the Boxing Week sales, but within reason you want to have all the tools you need to optimize success. This could be equipment, clothing or other materials, but one of the more challenging resources can be putting aside the time for your resolution activity.
9. Accept that you are not perfect. Despite your best efforts, you are human and you are going to face barriers – some expected and others that are a surprise. To prepare, think about why you haven’t accomplished this goal previously and look at other times when you’ve faced a challenge and succeeded – what supported you to achieve a positive result?
10. Just do it… there is only so much preparation and analysis required before you get paralyzed by over-thinking something. Whether it’s January 1st, December 29th or January 15th – go for it!

It is my sincere wish that you will take the opportunity to choose to enrich a part of your life in 2008 and that the above tips might be a contributing factor to your success.

Jen Denys specializes in HR consulting, career management, mentoring, retirement lifestyle planning, executive coaching and mediation. For more information, visit or call 519-294-6345.