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Ready-Made Resolutions for the New Year

Quit making resolutions you don't keep.
Use a jar to hold reminders of achievements.

Quit making the same New Year's resolutions that you never keep. Try one of these simple ideas.

Buy a notebook, journal or diary. Then set a reminder on your phone, computer or watch to write something in that book regularly. I suggest jotting down something good that happened during the day, and something you'd like to improve.

After a couple of months, look back and see if there are trends. When the thing you'd like to improve is frequently repeated, maybe you need to approach it differently to be successful. The power you get comes from taking an action. The act of writing things down makes you reflect on what's good and what can be better.

Make a "rememberlutions" jar or box to hold reminders of your achievements. A column on BuzzFeed suggested it, as a way to remember good things that happened, instead of making specific resolutions.

Start with a jar or box. Decorate it if you'd like. Then, "Over the course of the year, whenever anything happens that makes you proud, write it down and put it in the jar." It's remarkably simple and the notes you write are entirely up to you.

Celebrate big accomplishments, small successes, surprises and things that make you smile. As the year goes on, the accomplishments build up. Instead of feeling regret for failed resolutions, you feel happy from the things that are going right.

Organize something every month. It doesn't have to be big. You might straighten out a drawer, a closet or a bathroom. Donate clothes to charity that you haven't worn in over two years. Sell electronics you're no longer using and do it quickly. The longer you hold onto them, the more value they lose. When you finish, there's a tremendous sense of satisfaction you get by having things clean and put away where they belong.

Volunteer for something, and not just on a major holiday. Call your local charity and see what they need help with. Explain your areas of expertise. They may need someone with exactly the talents you have. You don't have to turn it into a second job, but a couple of hours a month can make a big difference to a small non-profit. While you're helping, you're also strengthening your ties with other people in the community.

Learn to say NO, and mean it. A lot of people live frantic lives, always rushing from one obligation to the next. Some people thrive in that kind of chaos, but most don't. Every time you say YES to someone else, you're taking away that time from yourself. Decide what things are important to you and put them first. Say NO to the distractions. 

Spend less time commenting in social media. Start by turning off the automatic notifications you get on your computer, smartphone, tablet and watch. Then set a time limit that you're OK with each day. When you do sign into a social media site, start your timer. When you hit the maximum amount of time that you determined earlier, sign out and put it away until the next day.

Unless you're a world-famous celebrity or are running for office, you don't need to stay up to the minute with what people are saying. And if you ARE a world-famous celebrity or are running for political office, you've probably got people to handle those things for you.

Be present when you're with friends. Put your phone in airplane mode so it won't interrupt. When they talk, pay attention to what they're saying. The human mind is pretty terrible at multi-tasking. If you don't think your friends deserve your full attention when you talk with them, you should start looking for new friends.

Cross something off your bucket list. If you don't have a bucket list, make one. Then decide what you're going to do this coming year that's on the list.

Don't try to do everything at once. Pick one or two ideas you like and figure out how to fit them in. Spend a couple of months turning them into a routine. Then come back, choose another idea and incorporate it into your life. You don't have to wait for the New Year to start, do it now.

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