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Historians say the ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, about 4,000 years ago. Ever since, we’ve been using the New Year as our signal to wipe the slate clean on past mistakes and try to do better in the future. It’s a good concept, but let’s face it: most of us have trouble following through. Are you determined to make 2019 different? Here are five tips that can help:

  1. Be patient. Just as it takes time to develop bad habits, it also takes time to undo them. Give yourself a reasonable number of weeks or months to reach your goal or see progress. Remember, good things rarely happen overnight.
  1. Be practical. There’s nothing wrong with stretch goals, as long as it’s reasonable to think you can achieve them under the current circumstances. If you’re juggling school, work and family at the same time, be honest about how much more you can take on. 
  1. Be picky. If you have a long list of things you want to work on, pick the one most important to you and focus on it first. Psychologists say working on one thing at a time is more likely to lead to long-term success.
  1. Be persistent. You may have heard the statistic that 80% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by February. Don’t let small setbacks cause you to give up entirely. Have a Plan B for those situations to help you get back on track quickly. 
  1. Be positive. Attitude is everything. Keep reminding yourself why you made your resolution and what the rewards will be when you achieve it. If something’s not working, try a different approach to renew your motivation.

The Babylonians had the right idea when they came up with New Year’s resolutions. Now it’s your turn to make them work for you.

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