ResolutionsI love January. The resolve. The hope. The promise of a new, healthier year. This year, I plan on losing weight, saving money and being more patient with my mom. I always make grandiose plans for a wonderful new me. I have my resolutions written down by Christmas. And then, next season, I resolve to do it all over again the following year.

That I always seem to be making the same resolutions doesn’t bother me. Ongoing failure doesn’t deter me one bit. Where would we be today if Thomas Edison had thrown in the towel after his thousandth attempt at the lightbulb? Or if Bill Gates hadn’t followed up on his first business failure, Traf-o-Data, with Microsoft? Imagine if Stephen King had given up on Carrie. Actually, he did. Bad example. It was his wife who fished the manuscript out of the trash.

But, you get the point. Very few people succeed right out of the gate. Instead, they make multiple attempts and — this is key — learn something as to why they failed, so they can get closer to reaching their goal the next time.

For example, in my quest to shed pounds, I have learned that the all natural supplement, raspberry ketones, touted as the number one miracle fat-burner in a bottle, just makes me nauseous. (Serves me right for looking for an easy way out.) I’ve also learned (or re-learned) that I have absolutely no willpower. So yes, Twizzlers are a nice, low-calorie snack to have on hand to satisfy a sweet tooth. But, if you eat the whole package it’s still 250 calories, 28 grams of sugar and no way to lose weight. It’s best for me not to even have it in the house. Lesson learned.

When I was just a wee little perfectionist, I remember trying my very best to say my pleases and thank yous, not to swear and not to call anyone a stupidhead. Whenever I messed up, I’d quickly give myself a do-over and say “starting now.” This is warped on many levels, I know, but what I’m trying to illustrate here is how easily I simply began again. More than three decades later, I don’t call anyone a stupidhead (to their face) and mostly remember my manners, though I do go ahead and curse freely. Two out of three ain’t bad. A saying my Grandma Weeze liked, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” So, here are some tips to help you keep that resolve. Starting now.

~Be realistic. The surest way to fall short is to make your goal unattainable. My resolution to read a book every other month is laughable, even now. I’m revising it to a book a season.

~Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution. So, rewarding myself for losing ten pounds by ordering a pizza is not the way to go.

~Tell everyone. Force yourself to be accountable. The more people that know and may ask you how it’s going, the better.

~Write it down. On paper. It makes it more official and you can’t change the parameters easily. Besides, I think there’s power in this. (See my previous post “Write it Down, Make it Happen.”)

~Get support. Don’t go it alone if you don’t have to. Particularly, if your resolution involves an addiction, like quitting smoking.