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Tips on New Year's resolutions
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 Are you racking your brain trying to find New Year’s resolutions for 2018 you can actually keep?
If so, you’re not alone. Recent polls suggest some 68 percent of Americans are planning to do just that.

  As a public service to my vast North American reading audience, here is a list of the Top 10 New Year's resolutions for 2017. Feel free to use them to pique your interest in your own resolutions for 2018.

1. Lose weight/eat healthier
2. Life/self-improvement
3. Make better financial decisions
4. Quit smoking
5. Do more exciting things
6. Spend more time with family/friends
7. Work out more
8. Learn something new on my own
9. Do more good deeds for others
10. Find the love of my life

Now the list above is a good one, noble even, with the possible exception of No. 10, if you’re already taken, so to speak. As it happens, New Year's resolutions are much easier to make than to keep. Statistically, only about 9 percent of us will actually achieve our good intentions. Why?

Obviously, the reasons for failure are many and varied. However, they share a common characteristic: lack of self-motivation. This will kill even the best resolution.

Self-motivation is that innate inner energy that sparks both enthusiasm for action and perseverance to achieve stated goals.

The combination of self-motivation and stated goals can be the key to success for translating resolutions into results. Instead of resolving to “lose weight,” motivate yourself to “lose 10 pounds by March 1, 2018.” I like to think of a goal as “a dream with a deadline.”

For example, instead of “work out more often,” motivate yourself to “walk 30 minutes three times a week and lift weights three times a week.”

Once you acquire the habit of self-motivation and stated goals, you can be even more specific about what you wish to achieve. Instead of the noble, but vague “do more good deeds for others,” try “volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels three times weekly,” and so on.

Finally, as you fashion your 2018 New Year’s resolutions into stated goals, be sure those goals are high, but attainable for you and your situation.

Happy New Year to all!

Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at