Are you tired of making New Years resolutions that, by the end of January, are all but a fleeting memory? This year try a new approach. With four simple steps and four sheets of paper, you’ll be on your way to making real change in your life.

Review Your Successes

List your accomplishments on the first piece of paper. Write down those things you like about yourself or things you’ve done that make you proud. Do you have a great sense of humor? Are you a dedicated employee, a supportive spouse, or a loving parent? Dig deep and give yourself the credit you deserve.

Dare to Dream

On the second piece of paper, write down changes you’d like to make in your life. Would you like to improve your health? Change careers? Get organized? Spend more time with loved ones? Find more time for leisure or hobbies? Quit smoking? Start a new business? Write down the first five to ten things that come to mind.

Magic Wand Experiment

Now, with your list in hand, imagine you’re handed a magic wand, guaranteed to make one of your resolutions come true.

magic wand

Which one would you pick? Write this down on your third piece of paper as a goal, using the following guidelines:

  • Make it personal: your resolution must be about you and only you. Use I and me to state the goal.
  • Be present: write the goal in present tense, as if you have already accomplished it.
  • Be descriptive: use adjectives that describe the benefits of achieving this goal.
  • Set a deadline: decide when you will achieve your goal. For example, “I peacefully and calmly live in an organized home by March 15, 20XX.”

Get started

On the fourth piece of paper, write down three actions you can take today to get started on your goal. These three items don’t have to be monumental, just three simple steps that can move you in the direction of your goal.

Complete and repeat

Once you’ve completed the three things on your list, pull out your goal again and write down the next three tasks that will move you forward. Continue this process until your goal is achieved.

By focusing on just one resolution, and breaking it down into three simple steps at a time, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success. Now, at the end of January, you’ll be seeing real progress toward your goal, instead of a fleeting memory of what could have been.

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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