Now th-at we are in-to the second week of the New Year, how are those resolutions going? You had the best intention on January 1st, but as the time passes, they tend to fade. Trouble is, we often set unrealistic expectations of ourselves and then forget to follow through. If you rethink the way you look at a resolution you may find it easier to stick with it. Instead of using the word resolution, set a goal. With a goal, you can develop a plan of action to accomplish what you set out to do. Most people don’t take the extra steps to develop a plan. Consider the following steps to help carry out your resolutions. Identify your goal – They vary with individual interest, but goals are the end result of something you are willing to work for. It may be losing weight, reducing debt, saving money or tackling a major home repair. Be realistic – If the goal is not practical and personally believable, you set yourself up for failure. It’s better to set a goal to shed 5 pounds in the next two months and achieve it then to aim for 30 pounds in three months, then get frustrated and quit. You can always set another goal, once you have achieved the smaller one. Be specific – Clear and concise goals are easier to evaluate along the way. To say you want to save money is one thing, but you must go a step further and identify a dollar amount. An example would be to save $500 by the end of the year. This way, you can determine the amount you will have to deposit each pay check. Set a completion date – Without a time frame, you may see the year roll by without accomplishing what you intended to do. By giving yourself a deadline, you can work backwards and divide your actions into smaller steps. Be sure it’s your own – Unless the goal is something you want for yourself, you will never reach it. All too often, we set goals that result from pressure from other people. Evaluate your progress – Take time during the year to see how you are progressing, you may want to check monthly. Make adjustments if you need to and take pride in the fact that you are carrying out your resolutions. If you follow these recommendations, you’ll find it easier to fulfill you New Year’s resolutions. For more information on goal planning and family management, contact the Madison County Extension Service. The University of Florida Extension/IFAS – Madison County is an Equal Employment Opportunity Institution.