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The Anti-Resolution: How to Set a Goal and Stick with It

Choosing a New Year's Resolution and sticking to it is something a lot of people have trouble doing -- especially the "sticking to it" part. So what we propose you do this year is to learn how to set an anti-resolution.


New Year's Resolutions tend to be vague promises to yourself, like "get out of debt", "lose weight", or "stop eating chocolate". A resolution is weak. An anti-resolution is strong. To set a goal and stick with it, just answer those 5 most basic questions; who, what, when, where, how, and why.



You obviously. But an anti-resolution is more than just a commitment to yourself -- it's a commitment to those who care about you. Don't keep your goal to yourself. Share your goal with family and friends. You can even share it with your morning barista (especially if your goal is to reduce how much coffee you drink)!



This might be the toughest question to answer.

You're probably thinking "I should have as many resolutions as possible so I have a better chance of accomplishing at least one of them!" Don't set multiple goals for yourself. Just pick one anti-resolution and stick to it. Make your goal specific and tangible. Don't say "My anti-resolution is to get out of debt". Instead, try "my anti-resolution is to reduce my debt by $2,000".

You also want to make sure that your goal is something that's actually attainable for you. If your goal is to burn 1000 calories a day and you don't exercise at all right now, that's going to be a really difficult goal to accomplish.



If you don't set a specific date to accomplish your anti-resolution by then you will keep putting it off. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, break this down into smaller goals over the course of the year. Make your anti-resolution: "I want to lose 10 pounds every three months until December."



When you are setting a goal, you need a tangible place to accomplish it. If your goal is to spend less money, then your "where" becomes the places you should avoid because you know you will spend a lot of money there.

If you are trying to quit smoking, your "where" might be a place you usually smoke (like your car) or a thing you do that triggers the smoking (like drinking coffee or going out for drinks). Don't avoid these activities and places altogether -- just be cognizant of the fact that you are going to be tempted.



This will be the most important question you ask yourself.

If you don't have a reason for accomplishing your anti-resolution, then when you encounter the first signs of resistance you will give in. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, ask yourself "why do I want to lose 50 pounds?" Will it make you feel better about yourself? Will it give you more energy to play with your kids? Write down these reasons down, and when you struggle, go back and look at your "why".



This question is vital to your anti-resolution. If you are going to lose 10 pounds every three months from now until December, then you need to figure out how you are going to accomplish that. Will it be walking the dogs three times a day for half an hour? Will it be Power class on Mondays and Fridays and Ride on Wednesdays?

Break your goal down into smaller, tangible events. Write them in your calendar. If you are trying to reduce your debt by $2,000, divide that by 12 months, and write in your calendar for every pay period: "Put $100 towards debt." If you forget or are short one time, double it up the next time.

Another benefit to the anti-resolution is that it's okay to get off track for a day, a week, a month. We all make mistakes, and setbacks are to be expected. The important thing to focus on is getting back on track, and that's much easier to do when you have a solid plan in place!