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"If it's in your head, you have an idea. Put that idea on paper and you have a goal. Make it measurable and you have a strategy. Put a deadline to it and you have a decision."
- from Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight by Karen Linamen

December 2008

It is almost time for those wonderful New Year's Resolutions . . . you know the ones that are lucky to see, well, March 1st.

The idea of a fresh start is alluring, which is why so many people choose January 1st to make self-promises of improvement. Of course, it doesn't have to be January. One of my business partners chooses to do a life audit every birthday, reviewing his past year for success and failure, and setting new resolutions then. I, on the other hand, tend to bumble it. My moods of reflection and resolution hit on my milestone birthday years - an already sensitive time for me - but the results do stick, and resolutions made in those years firmly take root. It is painful, creates bedlam, but effective.     

Should you be contemplating your 2009 resolutions, I hope these tips help you make it to March 2nd.  
Happy goal setting,
Creating New Habits

January is right around the corner, filled with promises of new beginnings. As you think about your New Year's Resolutions, consider these five pointers to jump start your planning.

1. Start small. Just because a goal is small doesn't mean it isn't powerful. Dr. Steven Covey shared on a blog post, "There are a couple of things I have found that help people develop enough internal stamina and discipline to make great things happen. They start small-make and keep a promise, or set a small goal and accomplish it. They move from small things to slightly larger things-have small "wins" and then bigger and bigger "wins"-until they begin to experience a level of exhilaration and excitement that makes them feel like they can accomplish just about anything."

2. Write it down. Darby Checketts said, "Only goal setters who are goal writers are truly goal achievers" in his book Leverage: How to Create Your Own "Tipping Points" in Business and in Life. Physically writing your goals helps you articulate specifically what you want to accomplish and how you will know if you are successful. Plus, for those of us who forget what we don't write down, you have a physical record of the goals you are trying to achieve.

3. Put a timeframe on it. Once you know how to measure your goal (answer the question: what does success look like?), give yourself a deadline. Goals without deadlines are easily set aside to accomplish "later," but as busy as our lives are, later rarely comes. Treat your goal as you do other business deadlines. In fact, aim to complete them early!

4. Find accountability. Tell someone else about your goal - your spouse, a friend or co-worker, your boss . . . Find a person who knows you well enough to provide the right balance between challenging you with the tough questions and being a cheerleader who encourages you to follow through.

5. Celebrate success. Don't forget to celebrate your accomplishments! No goal is too small to celebrate. Too often we don't take the time to acknowledge our successes because we're already on to the next task. Pause for a moment to enjoy your achievement.

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