Hitting a bull’s eye

Success targetIf you’ve been putting off implementing your New Year’s resolutions, know that you’re not alone. Studies estimate that 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators. But rather than beating yourself up over your lack of progress – as you’ve probably done in the past – why not get past your inertia and try something new this year to get you going?

All that self-blame didn’t really get you anywhere before, it just made you feel even worse. And the more negative your emotions, the less likely that you’ll actually overcome obstacles and begin a new positive habit. Instead of becoming paralyzed by your guilt, here are some ways to actively improve your mood so that you’re more likely to get on track – literally as well as figuratively.

Forgive yourself. When you stop focusing on how guilty you feel about not fulfilling all your plans, your mood improves and you’re more likely to actually begin working on them. Give yourself credit for the productive things you are doing and enjoy those good feelings.

Identify the most efficient way to reach your target. Use the technique of ‘goal factoring’ to consider your motivation for the transformation you want to bring about and then brainstorm other, more effective, methods for completing that change. If one approach doesn’t work, try another.

Take a small first step. It may help to begin with the easiest part to accomplish so that you can enjoy the good feelings that come with achieving that stage. Those positive emotions will keep you motivated to continue your progress at a steady rate.

Image the results. And particularly how you’ll feel when you reach your objective. Another time use ‘pre-hindsight’ to predict your future emotions if you don’t succeed. If you’re not surprised by your failure, identify the reasons you expected that you wouldn’t achieve your goal. Then address these weak points now.

When you take control of your emotions and consider all available options for putting your New Year’s resolutions into practice, you’ll find you’re more likely to follow through in 2014 and hit your target.

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