Are you one of the many who have made a New Year's Resolution? Have you been able to keep it so far? If you have then "Congratulations"; you are in the minority. Most people start out with the best of intentions. Some even write down their goals, and discuss it with their friends and partners. These are all great intentions and will get you started on the right track. But how do you stay on the right track and not get distracted, or worse fall off the cliff?

Here are a few tools that may help you to keep those resolutions on track:

1.You have to take baby steps. If you tell yourself you want to lose 20 lbs in a month, you will be starving after the 2nd day and probably off the diet by the third day. Losing 1lb a week may be slow, but it will give you 52 lbs in a year and by then you will be more likely to have altered your eating habits and more likely to keep it off.

2. Deciding to assert yourself more this year, is another great resolution. The question is how do you go about it. You can learn what to say, what tone to use, but timing is another essential ingredient that the books neglect to warn you about. If you are planning to tell your husband how it makes you feel when he doesn't help with the dishes or forgets to come home on time, and he is in a bad mood; all the assertiveness in the world won't help you to receive a positive response. You need to make sure whoever you plan on asserting yourself with, is open to hearing you. Another important point is to start off with people with little invested interest. You will be taking a small risk when you start to assert yourself, and to feel more confidant about succeeding you want to less afraid of the outcome. If you are too afraid of the person's reaction, you may unknowingly end up sabotaging your efforts, by sounding too angry or upset. Practice first by role-playing exercises with a supportive friend. This will give you more confidence and make you sound calmer. Try out your assertiveness techniques in a low-risk environment such as with someone who interrupts your conversation or someone cutting into the grocery line.

3. Ending procrastination is another noble goal. It also involves a lot of resistance, so take bite-sized steps. If by just looking at the pile of papers you feel overwhelmed and discouraged, you are heading for disappointment. Use a timer, and give yourself 10 minutes to pick up the tiniest of piles. Don't tell yourself that it isn't enough, congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished and then set the timer for another 10 minutes. Even the smallest accomplishment can encourage more success.

4. Starting to exercise, is another great goal. Again, joining the gym is a great start, but now you have to block it into your schedule. You need to wire yourself for success. Find a gym that is close to work or to your house. Write down in your calendar or Blackberry the times you will be going and plan your schedule around these times. Make these appointments fixed and not flexible. See them as a doctor's appointment. Go with a friend, you will feel more obliged to follow through if someone is depending on you.

5. Planning to end a relationship may be a painful but necessary goal as well. First you need to ask yourself if you feel you have done everything you could to save the relationship. Have you spoken to your partner calmly, gone for couple counselling, make efforts to re-connect with your partner? If you are married, you should speak to a lawyer to find out your rights before making any hasty decisions. Speak to your children. They know something is going on and can feel the tension in the home. You and your partner need to sit down with them, explain why you will be separating, how this has nothing to do with them, and how they lives may change. Children can adapt to change but are at first resistant and often angry.
Don't assume they will be ok and just go along with it. Checking it out first, speaking to professionals and strategic planning will make things go much smoother and inspire cooperation rather than resentment and guilt.

6. Dealing with worry. A large majority of people suffer from anxiety. It is a terrible feeling that can cripple people and have them feeling powerless and overwhelmed. Yet, there are a lot of techniques that have amazing results. Educate yourself and use these tools and you will feel a lot of relief.
- breathing exercises
- EFT training
- cognitive therapy
- reading books such as, "From Panic to Power"
- solution-focused therapy
- anti-anxiety medication
- herbal/homeopathic supplements
Don't let anxiety take over your life and stop you from growing, evolving and dancing with life. There are always solutions.

7. Self-sabotage. This is the biggest obstacle to meeting your goals. If you are doing everything you can to accomplish your goals. You are writing it down, planning for it and scheduling it in, and still you find that it is not working, it could be self-sabotage. What I mean by this, is that we all have our own internal negative dialogue, telling us that we can't do something, achieve, be successful etc. These are old tapes usually started in our childhood which we have internalized and continue to repeat to ourselves as adults. If this is your situation, you will need to learn how to release or diminish these self-sabotaged thoughts before being able to accomplish your goals. Don't become discouraged. These thoughts are just a habit you have been saying to yourself for years, and all habits can be changed.

I hope some of these suggestions will help you move towards attaining your goals. I wish you all the best in the new year.

warmest regards;

Author's Bio: 

Rhonda Rabow, M.A.

Author's Bio Rhonda Rabow is an author and a psychotherapist living in Montreal, Quebec Canada. She has over 25 years experience counseling individuals, couples and families facing a variety of life challenges; from parenting, grief, depression, and self-esteem issues, to conflict resolution and marriage counseling. Her approach is empowerment and she accomplishes this by helping her clients find solutions to their problems and teaching them the skills and tools they need to feel back in control of their lives. She has also recently published an e-book called, "Discover the 3 secrets to living happily ever after".