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Make it a good one

New year resolutions should only be made if you know you can stick to them. Jurgen Wolff has some helpful tips on doing just that

Looking forward at the start of a year usually means making resolutions in January that are abandoned by March. But change is possible, and a good place to start is with a vision for your next year.

* If you imagine you're looking back at 2003 from January 2004, what's the one thing you'd most like to be able to say about the year?

* If you had a wise mentor, what would he or she advise regarding the coming year?

* What one new skill would make the most difference to your career?

* What one quality that you don't have, or of which you don't have enough, would make the most difference to your personal life?

Some ideas for change or growth will probably come to mind. For each change, you might consider:

* What benefits will you get from this change?

* How will this change affect the people around you?

* What will your world look, sound and feel like when you've made this change?

Answering these questions should help you decide which changes are worthwhile. If there are several, tackle them one by one, starting with the easiest. That way you gain confidence and momentum. When you've chosen one, consider these points.

* What are the steps to making this change? (One good strategy is to start with the outcome you want and work backwards).

* How can you enlist the help of others to support you in this change?

* How can you make the time to do whatever you set out to do? (Your day will not expand; if your new goal takes time, you'll have to stop doing something else.)

* What are the most likely obstacles, and how might you overcome them?

* How can you reward yourself for reaching milestones along the way?

Reviewing these questions and your answers at least once a week will help maintain your resolve and will keep you moving towards your goals. The secret to enjoying looking backwards is first looking forward.

Jurgen Wolff is a hypnotherapist, teacher, and writer. His most recent book is 'Do Something Different', published by Virgin Business Guides. His free monthly Brainstorm creativity e-bulletin is available from

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