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This section is in advanced English and is only intended to be a guide, not to be taken too seriously!

By Atul Mathur

The idea of New Year resolutions conjures up different feelings among different people. Some doubt the significance of resolutions in real life, while others doubt their ability to stick to their own resolutions.

Some feel disappointed over their past failures with resolutions, while others feel tempted to make new, bolder ones.

So why should one make New Year resolutions in the first place? Is there a way to turn resolutions from wishful thinking into reality?

Considering the notoriously low success rate of resolutions made on New Year's Eve, many people would like to leave this custom to others. Why fail again? What is the point?

You must however, be aware that the ritual of making resolutions offers a three-in-one opportunity.

First, there is no other time of the year when the whole atmosphere is so conducive to relax, reflect and look forward. The window of opportunity is small, however, it is like half-time in a basketball game. The first half is gone, with the second due to start soon. Now is the time to breathe, think and plan how you can do better in the rest of the game. Would you want to miss it?

The second aspect of this opportunity is about desires. Making resolutions enables you to connect with your deepest desires. When a smoker thinks to himself: "I should quit smoking", it reflects his deepest desire. If not for the ritual of resolutions, you would continue to smoke, drink and gain weight without a yearly reminder that, deep inside, you don't want it all. Wouldn't you like to fulfil your deepest desires?

The third aspect is about the thrill of challenging yourself. Who would dispute that making resolutions is like taking a test with little confidence of passing it?

It is easy to live an unchallenged, safe life; it is difficult to be challenged and face the failure. Want the thrill of challenge? Make resolutions for the New Year. Here are seven keys to make your new year resolutions sticky:

1. Do it alone

Resolutions made hurriedly in a sudden rush of inspiration are bound to disappear sooner than you can imagine. Making resolutions should not be an event, it should be a process. Make an appointment with yourself to sit alone in a quiet place. Reflect on the past and dream about the future. What would you like to be different in the coming year? Why?

2. Clarity

Desire is not resolution. Resolution means specific action steps to fulfil a desire. Recognise your deepest desires and ask: "What action can I take?" Clarity is important. One sure way to achieve clarity is to write down the resolutions.

3. Quality not quantity

The best way to improve the chances of success is to make a few but profound resolutions. Go for quality, not quantity.

4. Chew over your resolutions

Once you have zeroed in on a few resolutions, think about the difficulties and challenges ahead. Imagine yourself doing what you wish to do and enjoying success. Imagine overcoming the temptations to break the resolutions. The more you chew over them, the better will be the chances of success.

5. Reminder

Help yourself by writing your resolutions in an e-mail and scheduling it to come to you, for instance, every Monday morning.

6. Dedicate

Dedicate each of your resolutions to someone you love. For example, if you wish to quit smoking, dedicate this resolution to someone you really care about - your children, mother or spouse for instance. Let your love for them strengthen your resolve.

7. Try until you fail to fail

Despite all the keys, if you fail, do not forget the ultimate key: Keep trying until you fail to fail!

Got it? Never give up!

Happy New Year!

About the author: Atul Mathur © 2004. All Rights Reserved. Atul Mathur is an author and a career coach. Web site: http://atulmathur.com
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