How to set New Year’s resolutions that you will achieve

By Lisa Zaslow, Founder of

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Do you start each new year with a long list of resolutions, only to abandon them before the end of February? Or maybe you’ve stopped making resolutions altogether? Don’t give up! Follow these tips to create “SMART” resolutions for 2011. You CAN create the changes you want in your life!

Think of a resolution as a goal you want to achieve, not something you think you should do. Which of the following sounds more appealing?

“I should organize my closet” or

“Having an organized closet will make me feel good whenever I open the closet door! Organizing my closet will save me time getting dressed in the morning. And I’ll be less stressed!”

To be motivating, goals should be “SMART”:

Specific – You’re more likely to accomplish a specific goal than a vague wish. “I will clear my desk at the end of every day” is specific. “I will be more organized at work” is vague.

Measurable – With a measureable goal, it is crystal clear what you need to do to accomplish it. “I will exercise three times a week” is measurable. “I will get in shape” is not.

Attainable – You must feel that your goal is within your reach. A stretch goal is motivating; a pipe dream isn’t.

Realistic – Your goal should take into account your other commitments and circumstances. If you’ve just started a demanding new job, this may not be the time to take on a challenging, time-consuming personal goal.

Time-based – Your goal should include a realistic timeframe, which will motivate you. “I will clear out all the clutter in my home” is indefinite and daunting. “I will spend 15 minutes a day listing items I don’t need on eBay Classifieds” is do-able.

Think about what you truly want to achieve in the new year. What would really enhance your life and make a difference for you? Set one or two SMART goals to guide your actions in 2011. Think of a few ways to reward yourself for progress along the way, and enjoy working towards your goals!

About Lisa Zaslow
An eBay Classifieds ambassador, Lisa Zaslow is a nationally-recognized expert on organization and productivity. Get Lisa’s super-easy tips to save time, money, space and effort at