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How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have trouble keeping your resolutions? Part of the problem may be that you’re not specific enough. For example, I recall one friend who vowed to “be a nicer person.” How would she know if she succeeded?

Resolutions need to be measurable to be effective. This is the “continuous improvement” performance-management method, though I didn’t learn that was the name for it till I worked for Thomas J. Stevenin, Ph.D., at a Kansas City marketing firm.

Continuous improvement really works. In January I will celebrate the 25th anniversary of keeping my 1985 New Year’s resolution: to go to one Jazzercise class to see if I liked it. A couple of years later I resolved to go one more day a week. I now average four times a week and have been to more than 3,950 classes… so far. Other resolutions I’ve kept:
• Go through and organize every drawer and closet. (Every year.)
• Stop putting sugar in tea and coffee – a small, healthy thing to do. (Early ’80s)
• Take off one afternoon a week to watch a movie with my sister and/or a long-time friend. (Since 2005.) Resolutions can be fun to keep!

A new resolution this year is to read (or reread) one classic a month and take notes on the plot. I’ve been writing notes on books since about 1998, another resolution. Books will include “Pride and Prejudice” (which I’ve already started), “The Cloister and the Hearth” and “Les Miserables.”

What is your resolution for 2010? How will you measure your success?

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