Each of us has visions about how we would like certain aspects of our lives to look. This is particularly true as we make New Year’s resolutions each January. Whether it is losing that extra weight, quitting smoking, becoming more organized, or improving another aspect of our personal or professional lives, we can set a worthwhile goal. The challenge is in summoning the courage for change and maintaining the dedication to carry it out. Thorough preparation increases one’s likelihood of achieving the desired results.

As you set goals this year, consider the following tips:

  1. Evaluate your level of commitment to the goal.
  2. Express your goal positively, in terms of “I will do” rather than “I won’t do.”
  3. Set specific, measurable and attainable goals. Be clear in terms of times, dates and amounts by when and which you will measure your achievement.
  4. Prioritize your goals when you have several of them to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Write your goals down to give them concreteness. Keep your notes where you can review them frequently and chart your progress.
  6. Break down larger or long-term goals into a set of smaller steps. Keep the steps you are immediately working towards (daily or weekly goals) realistic and attainable.
  7. Build in rewards and plan for an occasional setback.