By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already over a week into 2013! The start of a new year can be hectic on both a personal and professional level, to say the least. Add to this the tradition of making resolutions and the result is a bulkier task list, a busier schedule and, in some cases, encroachment into previously uncharted territories.

The good news is that with efficient planning and the application of solid organizational skills, you can definitively tackle all of these tasks and activities. Let’s start with your resolutions.

It’s easy to make resolutions—the trick is keeping them throughout the year. Along with the productivity experts of our sister brands, Day-Timer and Day Runner, we’ve developed an infographic that provides some interesting statistics on traditional resolutions. It also lays out five simple steps to help ensure that you keep those annual promises you make for yourself.

  1. Commit to Specific Outcomes. Write down your resolutions in permanent ink, describing the how, when and why’s. For example, don’t say you want to lose weight. Rather, say you want to lose five pounds each month by walking daily and eating smaller, healthier meals.
  2. Create Weekly Activities. Plan a resolution-related activity each and every week to keep it in front of you. For instance, create a routine where you take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or maybe plan to pack a lunch to help ensure you eat better and save a little money in the process.
  3. Track Your Success. Mark down each day that you make successful strides toward keeping your resolutions. Put a big red “X” over that day on your calendar. By seeing the chain of success, you’ll be motivated to keep it going.
  4. Reward Yourself. Set monthly milestones where, if achieved, you can treat yourself to something fun. Make it a healthy reward, like a new pair of “skinny” jeans if you stick to your fitness routine for six weeks.
  5. Start Today! Don’t wait for the time to be right to start down your road to improvement. That day may never come and you’ll find yourself paralyzed by excuses. Instead, start small and be accountable to yourself.

Whether it’s losing weight or taking a trip, quitting smoking or managing your money better, resolutions can be met if you stick to your plan. These five tips will help you do just that. The best time to start is now—be determined to succeed and get going today!

[photo by ell brown]

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