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1220homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Dec. 20, 2007-FranklinCovey released the results of its third annual New Year’s Resolutions Survey, which polled 15,031 customers. The survey found that respondents’ top three New Year’s resolutions or goals for 2008 are to (1) get out of debt or save money, (2) lose weight, and (3) develop a healthy habit like exercise or healthy eating.

The Top 10 New Year’s resolutions or goals were ranked as follows:

1. Get out of debt or save money
2. Lose weight
3. Develop a healthy habit (e.g., exercise or healthy eating)
4. Get organized
5. Develop a new skill or talent
6. Spend more time with family and friends
7. Other
8. Work less, play more
9. Break an unhealthy habit (e.g., smoking, alcohol, overeating)
10. Change employment

The survey also found that 35% of respondents break their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January and only 23% of those surveyed don’t ever break them. Nearly 40% of those surveyed attribute breaking their resolutions to having too many other things to do, while 33% say they are not committed to the resolutions they set.

Experts Stephen R. Covey, best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness; Julie Morgenstern, professional organizer, time-management expert and best-selling author; and FranklinCovey (NYSE:FC), a global leader in effectiveness training, productivity tools, and assessment services, have partnered to give advice and offer 8 Tips for Making More Effective New Year’s Resolutions and Goals in 2008.

Covey says, “Begin the New Year by setting one New Year’s resolution. Ask yourself, ‘What one thing could I change that would significantly increase my happiness?’ Be honest with yourself and examine your intent, motive and desire for setting your goal. It must align with your deepest values, motivations and with what is most important to you. Otherwise you won’t have the passion or discipline to stay committed when the going gets tough, especially when there are so many other things distracting you from achieving your resolution.”

Morgenstern says, “Most New Year’s resolutions are articulated in the form of activities, such as ‘lose 10 lb, get organized, and get out of debt.’ Strengthen your conviction by identifying the ‘why’ behind the activity. The ‘why’ connects you to your bigger picture goals-the core values which give your life meaning. For example, Resolution – Exercise more. Why? To boost my energy and strength. Resolution – Get out of debt. Why? To gain sense of security. Resolution – Spend more time with family. Why? To deepen connections. Identifying the ‘why’ will help you be more successful in goal setting and in keeping your New Year’s resolutions.”

8 Tips for Making More Effective New Year’s Resolutions and Goals in 2008 from Stephen Covey, Julie Morgenstern and FranklinCovey:

Think of Your Resolutions as Goals

Since many resolutions are notoriously vague, lofty and overwhelming, instead, think of them as goals. Make sure each goal includes clear measurements and specific deadlines (e.g., If you want to lose weight, your goal should state how much weight you want to lose and when you want to lose it by).

Set Only 1 or 2 Realistic Goals

Don’t create a long list of goals. Instead only choose one or two. If you’re aiming to read 50 books, learn Italian, quadruple your savings and drop three clothing sizes, you’re not being fair to yourself. Set realistic, attainable goals, and build from there. (e.g., Save $200 or lose 3 lbs. by January 31). If you are a procrastinator, create short-term benchmarks to keep you on track week by week (e.g., Save $50 a week or exercise twice per week during the month of January).

Write Down Your Goals

The act of writing down your goals will increase your chances of achieving them. Make sure you write them somewhere you will review them often (e.g., a planner or prominent place in your home or office). By reviewing your goals daily, weekly and monthly, and the progress you are making towards them, you will stay more committed to achieving them.

Take Baby Steps

Break your goal down into tasks with deadlines and schedule them accordingly into your planning tool (planner, handheld, etc.) The less daunting the task, the more likely you will be to complete it (e.g., To lose weight you need to exercise, watch your calorie intake, drink enough water, etc.) Add each step to your task list or calendar to ensure it gets completed.

Go Public

Tell people you live or work with about your goal. When friends, family and co-workers know what you are working toward, they will be less likely to present you with temptations, more likely to notice or ask about your progress and encourage you. It also motivates you to remain committed to your goal so you don’t have to admit failure publicly.

Track Your Progress

Make a scoreboard where you can visually track progress toward your goal from your starting point to your end result. Post it where you will see it regularly (e.g., a planner or prominent place in your home or office) or wherever you have written down your goals.

Reward Yourself

Stay motivated by giving yourself rewards for incremental steps toward your goal. Achieving your goal is rewarding in and of itself, but why wait until you are at the end result to celebrate?

If You Slip Up, Recommit

Don’t get discouraged if you slip up. Everyone has bad days. Just forgive yourself, recommit to your goal and keep moving forward. Stay energized and motivated to achieve the end result.

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