Here's Your New Year's Resolutions Check-Up

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Remember just a few weeks ago on New Year’s Day when you resolved to dump some bad habits, lose weight and save more money in 2013?

One month into the New Year, you may find yourself struggling to keep those resolutions alive. We spoke to some experts who shared advice on how to revive these goals and help you to maintain them as the year progresses.

1. Find a support system

Some resolutions — especially weight loss — are difficult to accomplish without a strong group of loved ones around you to keep you in check.

Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Shinal, founder of FriendshipWeight.com, says the key to weight loss is consistent weigh-ins and group support. On his site, users can enter in their changes in weight over several weeks (as opposed to your total weight, which some are uncomfortable revealing), and this information is shared with friends and family of your choice. As an incentive to get you to weigh in each week, your support system will be notified via email if you fail to do so.

“This way, you’re accountable to the people you love the most — it’s a setup for more commitment in weight maintenance,” he says.

2. Tell everyone!

Speaking of forming a solid support system, you also need to tell the people around you what your resolutions are.

“If you've told everyone in the office that you're cutting out coffee and you show up to the 9:30 budget meeting with a cup of coffee, people may say something and you'll have to admit that you're ‘off the wagon,’” says professional organizer Christine Kell.

The reaction of others may prompt you to stick with your goals.

3. Narrow your goals

Having a laundry list of 10 goals may become too overwhelming. This is why it’s important to limit your goals to a maximum of three, at least for the next few months.

“Decide on one way you want to improve yourself or your life and concentrate on that. Don't decide that this is the year you're going to lose 30 pounds, call your mother more often and become fluent in Japanese. Instead, choose one thing and do it. You'll get results,” Kell says.

4. Schedule it!

If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you are going to have to spend some time in the gym. To ensure you actually show up, add this task to your schedule:

“Mark your calendar to show your resolve to do this. Examples might be ‘6 p.m. DO YOGA’ or ‘7 to 8 p.m. GYM, CARDIO’ and then, do it! If you schedule these activities, you're more likely to follow through on them, since scheduling everything makes it a matter of resolve and discipline,” Kell says.

5. Your environment

When our resolutions aren’t working, it’s time to look around and think about what specifically is the root of the failure.

“Identify the triggers in your environment that will make you fall off the wagon and replace them with triggers that will keep you on track. For example: Get the potato chips out of your pantry and lay out your workout gear and water bottle before bed so you'll remember to go right to the gym,” advises Mark Joyner, founder and CEO of Simpleology.

6. Track your results

Accomplishing your resolutions doesn’t happen overnight, which means you need to see how you’re doing on a daily basis — regardless of the type of goal you’re trying to attain.

“Keep a daily log of the changes you make. The more something makes you feel good, the more you will want to do it. Little steps each day and eventually these new habits will be linked with ‘feeling right’ and you won't want to revert back to the old ones,” says Wendy Ellin, workplace productivity consultant and author of Enough is Enough, Get Control of Your Stuff.

7. Surround yourself with experts

In addition to putting a support system in place to keep you on track, you also want to consider investing in some experts to help make your goals a reality.

“Whether you’re meeting with the trainer at your local gym to get back into your old playing shape or working with an independent financial adviser to get your retirement portfolio in order, these professionals are there to help you develop and execute on your plan,” suggests Christopher Lacerenza, wealth adviser at Russell & Co.

8. Keep your goals on your mind

While you’re not going to forget what your resolutions are, it’s helpful to be reminded of them constantly.

And you can do this by making a list of your goals and saving this as the background image on your smartphone, as suggested by Steve McClatchy, an author and time-management consultant. “How many times per day do you look at your phone?  If you constantly see a reminder of what you have resolved to do, it stays at the top of your mind, and you are much more likely to succeed,” he says.

9. Stay motivated

Over the past month, you may have lost some of that motivation that you had on Jan 1, when you originally set out to try and accomplish these goals.

“That internal drive, the fire within your belly only comes from inside of you. Look in the mirror every morning and ask yourself “Am I unwilling to sacrifice what is required to reach my goal, or do I have what it takes today?” Lacerenza suggests.

10. You may still continue to struggle

This article aimed to get you back on track with your resolutions — but it’s possible and normal that a few weeks from now, you may experience some setbacks.

“When it comes to your resolutions, you're probably trying to reprogram an old habit that took years to develop. Success isn't about being perfect ... it's about getting up after you slip and trying again,” says life coach and blogger Leah Carey.

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