ImageNew Year’s resolutions are easy to make but hard to keep. According to Forbes magazine, 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. That is more people than watch the Super Bowl each year. University of Scranton research revealed that only 8% of those making resolutions actually follow through.

Most of us make good resolutions. Think back to the resolutions you have made over the years. Perhaps they involved losing weight, saving money, being on time wherever you go, etc. There is nothing wrong with any of those, so why do we fail year after year? Perhaps we are setting ourselves up for failure. Here are some guidelines that might help as you evaluate your resolutions for this year.

Make it simple. Don’t create a whole bucket list. Limit your resolutions to five. You might even want to consider just one resolution – there’s nothing wrong with that. And don’t make that one resolution have a myriad of sub points. The simpler the resolution, the more likely you will remember it and stick to it.

Make it achievable. In addition to a resolution being simple, it needs to be doable. You need to lose 25 pounds or more? Set you goal for 10 or 15. If you reach that goal, you can always adjust. The problem with the loftier resolution is that it seems so far away. When things slow down and stagnate, it’s easy to just quit. It is far better to achieve a smaller goal than to get nowhere with a big one.

Make it matter. To me this is the most important guideline of all. You may make a resolution about something that is okay but doesn’t matter all that much. When you simplify your resolutions, think about how achieving it or failing to achieve it may matter in years to come. If you want to lose weight, why do you want that? Does it have to do with your health, your ability to play with your grandchildren, or simply your desire to look better? Asking the “Why does it matter?” question will lead to better resolutions that you’re more apt to keep.

If you haven’t resolved to make a change in this new year, it’s not too late. Just make sure your resolutions are simple, achievable, and that they matter.

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